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Ruth and McKew 



Cijf l^afelwíit ^oríftg. 






Portrait of S. Christopher to face Title. 

lierrera's map and Bahama Islands, modern, opposite each other, 

between pp. Ix and Ixi ; the first at top, the second at bottom, 

both reading the same way. 
Juan de la Cosa's map to face page Ixiii. 

'j«^ ^Uci. Uf^o .n.L^-*.^s;«ví: cn<x^ &., 4 o.. 








R. H. MAJOR, F.S.A., etc., 


Seconii ©íiítion. 

" Tu spiegberai, Colombo, a un novo polo 
Lontane si le fortunate antenne, 
Ch' a pena seguií-á con gli oocbi il volo 
La Fama cb' ha mille occhi e mille pennc. 
Canti elJa Alcida e Bacco, e di te solo 
Basti a' poster! tuoi ch'alquanto accenne ; 
Che quel poco dará lunga memoria 
Di poema dignissima e d' istoria." 

Tasso.— Gerusalemme Liberata. Canto xv, 32. 






Mem. Imp. Acad. Sc. St. Petersburgh, Corr. Mem. Inst. Fr. etc., etc., President. 




Rev. G. p. BADGER, F.R.G.S. 

J. BARROW, Esq., F.R.S. 

E. H. BUNBURY, Esq. 


Rear-Admiral R. COLLINSON, C.B. 


General C. FOX. 

W. E. FRERE, Esq. 

Captain J. G. GOODENOUGH, R.N. 




R. H. MAJOR, Esq., F.S.A. 



Major-General Sir HENRY C. RAWLINSON, K.C.B. 

The LORD STANLEY of Alderley. 

CLEMENTS R. MARK HAM, Esq., Honorary Secretary. 


THE honourp:d and beloved 








ETC., ETC., ETC., 








It has been thought desirable by some of the leading 
members of our Council that I should avail myself of 
the opportunity offered by this second Edition of the 
Select Letters of Columbus, to lay before the Society 
a correspondence in which I have endeavoured to 
vindicate the character of the Society's early produc- 
tions, and especially the first edition of this work, 
from a most unjustifiable attack made upon them by 
Mr. Froude in the Westminster Revieiv in 1852, and 
repeated in the second volume of that gentleman's 
Short Studies on Great Subjects, printed in 1867, and 
reprinted in a popular edition in the same year. 
The letters themselves will convey to the reader the 
whole of the facts, minus only the bitterness and 
ferocity of Mr. Froude's attack. 

The AthencGum, Julij 13fA, 1867. 

^' British Museum, July 3rd, 1807. 

"Will you allow me to appeal against a wrong done to tlie 
Hakluyt Society in general, and to myself in particular, in 
a work now very extensivel}'' read ? 

" In tlie second volume of Mr. Froude^s Short Studies on 
Great Suhjecis, at page 102, is an article on ^England's 
Forgotten Worthies,^ in which the author makes an attack 
on the Hakluyt Society, the bitter expressions of which need 
not be repeated here. It is headed by the titles of three of 
the Society's early publications, and the first he states to be 
The Ohservations of Sir Richard Hawkins, Knt., in his Voyage 
iti, the South Sea in 1593. Reprinted from the edition of 
1622, and edited hy R. H. Major, Esq., of the British Museum; 


whereas I had nothing to do with the editing of that work. 
This done, at page 108, Mr. Fronde says : ' The Editor of 
the Letters of Columbus (which I did edit in 1847) apologizes 
for the rudeness of the old seaman's phr aseólo fj y . Golumhus, 
he tells us, ivas not so great a master of the jjen as of the 
art of navigation. We are to make excuses for him. We 
are ])iit on our guard, and_ warned not to he offended, before 
we are introduced to the sublime record of sufferings under 
which a man of the highest order was staggering towards 
the end of his earthly calamities; although the inarticulate 
fragments in which his thought breaks out from him, are 
strokes of natural art, by the side of which literary pathos is 
poor and meaningless.' I warmly deny that I apologized 
for Columbus's language. So far from it, I repeatedly ex- 
pressed my sympathy with and admiration of his manly and 
touching record of his sufferings. What I did apologize for 
was any mischievous result which might possibly have 
accrued, though I do not think it did accrue, to my own 
dictio^ from that occasional want of connectedness in the 
original which I had to contend with in translating. The 
two things are manifestly different, and it is not pleasant to 
find the reader's highest sympathies appealed to in order to 
bring down greater condemnation on me for a fault that I 
had never committed. But I should not trouble you with 
such a personal matter, were it not that, having fabricated 
this handle for censure on me, Mr. Fronde makes it a hook 
for the following criticism on the Hakluyt Society : ' And 
even in the subjects which they select, they are pursued by 
the same curious fatality ,' the selection blamed being that of 
Drake's Last Voyage in 1595, edited from the original MSS. 
Then, after magisterially condemning this elsewhere unblamed 
selection as a 'fatal ' sin, Mr. Fronde proceeds to say, at the 
foot of page 109, 'But every bad has a ivorse below it, and 
inore offmsive than all these is the Editor of " Hawkins's 
Voyage to the South Sea,'" — and if the reader refers to the 
head of the article for the name of this most offensive editor, 
he will, as I have already said, find my name, who never 
had anything to do with it. It is true that on page 110 the 
name of the real editor, Admii-al Bethune, occurs ; but as 
Mr. Fronde's article is a reprint from the Westminster Review 
of 1852 (not 1853, as Mr. Fronde again blunders in saying), 
there has been time enough for that gentleman to correct 
the injurious errors into which he had fallen. Although 
naturally annoyed at this treatment of my name, I left the 


offence unnoticed at the time ; but now that, after a lapse 
of fifteen years, it is reprinted, with all faults in a widely- 
circulated publication, I call on Mr. Fronde to correct his 

'^I am, happily, able to state, from the experience of 
twenty years, that the estimate of the Hakluyt Society's 
publications by the literary world is far from supporting 
Mr. FroUde in his supercilious treatment of that Society. 
Whatever opinion, however, those publications may deserve, 
it is the duty of a critic to be correct, and the greater the 
severity, the greater the need of correctness ; but when a 
critic lashes not only one's self, but one^s friends, by means 
of misrepresentations and blunders of his own making, 
what does that critic deserve ? R. H. Major,'' 

The Athenceum, July 20th, 1867. 

" 5, Onslow Gardens, July 15, 1867. 

" I am sorry to have given Mr. Major cause to complain 
of me. Should my Essays be reprinted, the mistake which 
he points out shall be corrected ; and I can only regret the 
injustice which meanwhile is done to his name. At the same 
time the only error which I can acknowledge is confined to 
the title of a work which stands at the head of the article. 
In the ai'ticle itself the volumes criticised are assigned to 
their proper editors. J. A. Feoude." 

.The Athenaeum, July 27th, 1867. 

"British Museum, July 23, 1867. 

" I beg to thank Mr. Froude for his courteous expression 
of regret for what, I am quite sure, was done inadvertently, 
and I would thankfully accept his promise of reparation if it 
were extended to all the mischief that is being done to me. 
Unfortunately for me, two editions of Mr. Froude's Essays 
have been issued this year, the second this very month, .in a 
cJieap and po2nilar form ; thus diffusing and prolonging, in 
the most effectual manner, an injustice to my name which 
has existed for fifteen years, and postponing indefinitely the 
chance of reparation in a future edition. 

"Under such circumstances, I read with regret that, while 
acknowledging one error, Mr. Froude does not also acknow- 
ledge what everyone else sees clearly and condemns, the in- 
justice of his censure on me with respect to Columbus, and 
which he makes a ground for censure on the Hakluyt 
Society. That Society stands too high to need any defence 


from its former Honoraiy Secretary^ but I may be excused 
for specially asking that this censure may be expunged ; for 
I have a letter from Mr. Bancroft^ who was Ambassador here 
at the time^ in which he eulogizes^ in terms so warm that I 
may not repeat them, the spirit in which I had written both 
of the sufferings of Columbus, and of the touching language 
in which he had recorded them. This is exactly the contrary 
of what Mr. Froude's two editions are telling everybody that 
I have done, R. H, Majoe." 

Now that, in revising my translation for this second 
edition, I have again gone through the texts of Co- 
lumbus's letters, I uncompromisingly repeat the ex- 
pression which in 1847 I used solely in exculpation 
of any mischievous result to my own diction from the 
disconnectedness of the original, viz., that "Columbus 
was not so great a master of the pen as of the art of 
navigation." Whether my judgment on this point 
be of more or less weight than Mr. Froude's is of no 
moment whatever ; but it is of moment that the mis- 
chievous effect of a savage criticism, built up on the 
critic's own blunders, should be neutralized as far as 
possible. The reader has the realities of the whole 
case before him, and may judge for himself 

R. H. M. 


Nearly three thousand years have passed since the 
wisest of men declared that there was nothing new 
under the sun. The saying has held good to the 
present day, for men are perpetually finding out 
that their recent discoveries had been already made, 
but under circumstances which did not reveal the 
full value of that which had been discovered. No 
greater examples of this truth can be adduced than 
in the history of the Atlantic, of America, and 
of Austraha. Until the days of Prince Henry the 
Navigator, the Atlantic was so unknown that it 
justly bore the name of the " Sea of Darkness;" and 
yet, during the previous two thousand years occa- 
sional glimpses of light had in fact been thrown 
upon the face of that mysterious ocean. " Nil novi 
sub sole" was still an mdisputable proverb. In the 
researches into the Atlantic originated by Prince 
Henry, Columbus took part, and hence, as we shall 
presently more fully see, derived the idea of the 
great importance of explorations to the West. Within 
one hundred years of the triumphant rounding by 
Prince Henry's navigators (in 1434) of Cape Bojador, 
which tiU then had been the limit of Atlantic ex- 
ploration, the Portuguese had discovered both the 
eastern and western shores of the continental island 



of Australia. And yet till recently men knew not 
that they owed the knowledge either of America 
or of Australia* to the initiatory efforts of a Prince 
with whose name, in fact, they were almost entirely 

Such facts show the great injustice done to the 
originators of great explorations who, working with 
the smallest means, really deserve the highest meed 
of honour. 

Yet in the estimate of merit it must be conceded 
that priority, immense as are its claims, is not all- 
absorbent. Columbus, as we shall presently see, 
was anticipated in the discovery of America, and 
yet such were the special virtues brought to bear 
upon the execution of his great achievement, that, 
as Humboldt has eloquently said, "the majesty of 
grand recollections seems concentred" on his illus- 
trious name. The peculiar value of the following 
letters, descriptive of the four important voyages of 
Columbus, is that the events described are from the 
pens of those to whom the events occurred. In them 
we have laid before us, as it were from Columbus's 
own mouth, a clear statement of his opinions and 
conjectures on what were to him great cosmical 
riddles^ — riddles which have since been solved mamly 
through the light which his illustrious deeds have 
shed upon the field of our observation. In these 
letters also we trace the magnanimity with which 

* The Society possesses, in my Early Voyages to Terra Aus- 
tralis, printed in 1859, the evidence of these discoveries ; and in 
my Prince Henry the Navigator, published in 1868, will be seen 
the procession of these discoveries from the Prince's efforts. 


Columbus could support an accumulated burthen of 
undeserved affliction. It is impossible to read without 
the deepest sympathy the occasional murmurings 
and half suppressed complaints which are uttered in 
the course of his letter to Ferdinand and Isabella, 
describing his fourth voyage. These murmurings 
and complaints were wrung from his manly spirit 
by sickness and sorrow, and though reduced al- 
most to the brink of despair by the injustice of the 
king, yet do we find nothing harsh or disrespect- 
ful in his language to the sovereign. A curious 
contrast is presented to us. The gift of a world could 
not move the monarch to gratitude ; the infliction of 
chains, as a recompense for that gift, could not pro- 
voke the subject to disloyalty. The same great heart 
which through more than twenty wearisome years of 
disappointment and chagrin gave him strength to 
beg and to buffet his way to glory, still taught him 
to bear with majestic meekness the conversion of 
that glory into unmerited shame. 

The translated documents are seven in number. 
Five of them are letters from the hand of Columbus 
himself, describing respectively his first, third, and 
fourth voyages. Another, describing the second 
voyage, is by Dr. Chanca, the physician to the fleet 
during that expedition, and the seventh document 
is an extract from the will of Diego Méndez, one 
of Columbus's officers durmg the fourth voyage, who 
gives a detailed account of many most interesting 
adventures undertaken by himself, but left un- 
described by Columbus. 



I shall not pause here to enter into the hnportant 
bibliography of these documents, which has no charm 
for many readers, and is therefore placed at the end 
of this introduction. A series of original documents 
of such importance might appear to need but few- 
words of introduction or recommendation, since the 
entire history of civilisation presents us with no 
event, with the exception perhaps of the art of print- 
ing, so momentous as th^ discovery of the western 
world ; and, independently of the lustre which the 
grandeur of that event confers upon the discoverer, 
there is no individual who has rendered himself, on 
the score of personal character and conduct, more 
illustrious than Christopher Columbus. There have, 
nevertheless, not been wanting those, who, from 
various motives, and on grounds of various trust- 
worthiness, have endeavoured to lessen his glory, by 
impeaching his claim to the priority of discovery, or 
by arguing that the discovery itself has proved a 
misfortune rather than advantage to the world at 
large. By way, therefore, of vindicating the value of 
the original documents here translated, a brief ac- 
count of such pretensions to prior discovery as have 
been at different times put forth, may not be thought 

The oldest story which seems possibly to bear re- 
ference to what we call the " new world " is related 
by Theopompus, 

Theopompus lived in the fourth century before 
the Christian era ; in a fragment of his works pre- 
served by ^Elian is a conversation between Silenus 


and Midas, King of Phiygia, in which the former 
says that Europe, Asia, and Africa were surrounded 
by the sea, but that beyond this known world was 
an island of immense extent, containing huge animals 
and men of twice our stature, and long-lived in pro- 
portion. There were in it many great cities whose 
inhabitants had laws and customs entirely different 
from ours. Fabulous as the story is as a whole, we 
cannot escape from the thought that it suggests, 
though vaguely, a notion of the real existence of a 
great western country. This idea is strengthened 
by the remarkable story related to Solon by a priest 
of Sais from the sacred inscriptions in the temples, 
and presented to us by Plato in his Timseus and 
Critias, wherein he speaks of an island called At- 
lantis, opposite the Pillars of Hercules, larger than 
Africa and Asia united, but which in one day 
and night was swallowed up by an earthquake and 
disappeared beneath the waters. The result was 
that no one had since been able to navigate or 
explore that sea on account of the slime which the 
submerged island had produced. Many as have 
been the doubts and conjectures to which this nar- 
rative has been subjected by the learned in an- 
cient and modern times, it is a remarkable fact 
that Grantor, in a commentary on Plato quoted by 
Proclus, declares that he found this same account 
retained by the priests of Sais three hundred years 
after the period of Solon, and that he was shown 
the inscriptions in which it was embodied. It is 
also deserving of notice that precisely in that part 


of the ocean described in the legend we find the 
island groups of the Azores, Madeira, the Canaries, 
and a host of other rocks and sand-banks, while the 
great bank of varec, or floating seaweed, occupying 
the middle portion of the basin of the North Atlantic, 
and covering, according to Humboldt, an area about 
six times as large as Germany, has been reasonably 
regarded as explanatory of the obstacle to navigation 
to which the tradition refers. 

Various have been the speculations respecting the 
original colonisation of the western hemisphere. 
Athanasius Kircher, in his Prodromus Coptus and 
CEdipus j^gyptiaciis, gives the Egyptians the credit 
of colonising America, as well as India, China, and 
Japan, grounding his argument upon the religious 
worship of the sun, moon, stars, and animals. Edward 
Brerewood, at pages 96 and 97 of his Enquiries 
touching the Diversity of Langtiages, contends, and 
he is far from being alone in his opinion, that the 
Americans are the progeny of the Tartars. Marc 
Lescarbot, in his Histoire de la Nouvelle France^ 
maintains that the Canaanites, when routed by 
Joshua, were driven into America by storms, and 
that Noah was born in America, and after the flood 
showed his descendants the way into their paternal 
country, and assigned to some of them their places of 
abode there ; while Hornius, in his treatise De origini- 
hus Americanis, after touching upon the various con- 
jectures here quoted, animadverts on the presump- 
tion and folly of Paracelsus, when he states that a 
second Adam and Eve were created for the peopling 
of the western world. 


The first specific statement, however, of a supposed 
migration from the shores of the old world to those 
of the new, is that which the elder De Guignes pre- 
sumes to be demonstrable from the relation given by 
a Chinese historian, Li- Yen, who lived at the com- 
mencement of the seventh century. (See Memoires 
de VAcadémie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, 
vol. 28, p. 504.) The said historian speaks of a 
country, named Fou-sang, more than forty thousand 
Z^* to the East of China. He says that they who 
went thither started from the province of Leaton, 
situated to the north of Peking ; that after hav- 
ing made twelve thousand li, they came to Japan ; 
that travelling seven thousand li northward from 
that place, they arrived at the country of Venchin, 
and at five thousand li eastward of the latter, 
they found the country of Tahan, whence they jour- 
neyed to Fou-sang, which was twenty thousand li 
distant from Tahan. From this account De Guignes 
endeavours, by a long chain of argument, to prove 
that the Chinese had pushed their investigations into 
Jeso, Kamtschatka, and into that part of America 
which is situated opposite the most eastern coast of 

This surmise of De Guignes has been answered by 
Klaproth, in a paper which appeared in the Nouvelles 
Annales des Voyages (tom. 51, 2" serie, p. 53). His 
arguments go to show that the country named Fou- 
sang is Japan ; and that the country of Tahan, 
situated to the west of Asiatic Vinland, can only be 
* The li is about one-tenth of the common league. 


the island of Saghalian. Humboldt observes upon 
this subject, that the number of horses, the practice 
of writing, and the manufacture of paper from the 
Fousang tree, mentioned in the account given by 
the Chinese historian, ought to have shown De 
Guignes that the country of which he spoke was 
not America. 

The presumed discovery of America which comes 
next in chronological rotation, is that by the Scandi- 
navians, the earliest printed allusio7i to which occui-s 
in Adam of Bremen's Histoi^ia ^eclesiástica Ecclesi- 
arum Hamburgensis et Bremensis, published at Co- 
penhagen, 1579, 4to. The Baron Von Humboldt has 
asserted that the merit of first recognising the dis- 
covery of America by the Northmen, helo7igs indis- 
putably to Ortelius, who, in his Theatrum Orhis 
Terrarunfi, with unjust severity says, that Christo- 
pher Columbus had done nothing more than to place 
the new world in a permanently useful and commercial 
relationship with Europe. The ground uj)on which 
the priority is claimed for Ortelius, is that the first 
edition of his work came out in 1570, although the 
reference which Humboldt himself gives is to an 
edition of 1601 which was after the death of Ortelius, 
and the earlier editions do not contain the chapter on 
the Pacific Ocean m which the passage occurs. It is 
true that in the Bihliotheca Hidthemiana the edition 
of 1601 is said to have been revised and augmented 
by Ortehus before his death in 1598, but, even if the 
assertion was made by Ortelius, and not by the 
editor of his work after his deatli, it still leaves per- 


fectly unimpeached the claim to priority of the 
Copenhagen edition of Adam of Bremen in 1579. 
Adam of Bremen's work was written soon after the 
middle of the eleventh century, and was followed in 
the next half century by the Historia ^eclesiástica 
of Ordericus Vitalis, who also speaks of the country 
visited by the Scandinavians. Abraham Mylius, in 
his Treatise de Antiquitate Linguce Belgicce, Leyden, 
1611, makes all Americans to be sprung from Celts ; 
stating that many Celtic words were to be found in 
use there ; and with more reasonable showing affirms 
that the coast of Labrador was visited by wanderers 
from Iceland. Hugo Grotius, in his Dissertatio de 
Origine Gentium Americanarum, (Paris, 1642, 8vo.), 
follows Myhus, and states that America was colonised 
by a Norwegian race, who came thither from Ice- 
land, through Greenland, and passed through North 
America down to the Isthmus. 

The earhest jjr¿;2¿ec¿ detail oí these discoveries is 
given by the Norwegian historian, Thormodus Tor- 
fseus, in a work entitled Historia Vinlandice Antiquce, 
ex Antiquitatihus Islandicis in lucem prodiicta, 
(Hauniae, 1705, 12mo.) But in the invaluable work 
by Professor Rafn, pulDlished in 1837 by the Danish 
Royal Society of Antiquaries, under the title of A7iti- 
quitates Aniericance, the manuscripts which record 
these discoveries are given at length m the original, 
accompanied by a Latin translation, and careful and 
learned geographical illustrations. The following is 
a summary of the principal events recorded in this 
highly interesting volume, and the geographical 


inferences are those supplied by the professor him- 

Irish Christians were the first Europeans, which we 
know from well established history, to have migrated 
into and inhabited Iceland. Close upon the end of 
the eighth century this island was visited by Irish 
hermits ; but the first discovery of it by the North- 
men was made by a Dane named Gardar, of Swedish 
origin, in the year 863. The regular colonisation of 
the country was commenced in 874 by Ingolf, a 
Norwegian, and was carried on continuously for the 
space of sixty years by some of the most influential 
and civilised families of Scandinavia. In 877 the 
mountainous coast of Greenland was for the first 
time seen by a man named Gunnbiorn, but it was 
in 983 that this country was first visited by Eric 
Rauda, or Eric the Red, son of Thorwald, a Nor- 
wegian noble, who had been condemned to a 
banishment of three years for killing Eyolf his neigh- 
bour. After three years absence, he returned to Ice- 
land, and in order to hold out an inducement to 
colonisation, named the newly discovered coimtry 
Greenland, intending by that name to express the 
richness of the woods and meadows with which it 
abounded. Amongst those who had accompanied 
Eric was a man named Heriulf Bardson, who esta- 
blished himself at Heriulfsnes. Biarne, the son of 
the latter, finding, on his return home from a trading 
voyage to Norway, that his father had quitted Ice- 
land, resolved upon following him, though he, as well 
as those who had accompained him, were quite un- 


acquainted with the Greenland sea. Soon after leav- 
ing Iceland they met with northerly winds and fogs, 
and were carried they knew not whither : the weather 
clearing, they found themselves near a flat woody 
country, which, not corresponding with the descrip- 
tions of Greenland, they left to larboard. After five 
days' sailing with a south-west wind, they came to a 
mountainous country, covered with glaciers, which 
they found to be an island ; but as its appearance 
was not invitmg, they bore away from the island, and 
standing out to sea with the same wind, after four 
days' sailing with fresh gales, they reached Heriulfs- 
nes in Greenland. 

Some time after this, in the year 1000, Lief, son of 
Eric the Red, equipped a ship with thirty-five men 
to make a voyage of discovery, with the view of ex- 
amining the new found lands more narrowly. They 
came to a land were no grass was to be seen, but 
everywhere there were vast glaciers, while the space 
intervening between these ice mountains and the shore 
appeared as one uninterrupted plain of slate. This 
country they named Helluland, i. e. Slate-land (New- 
foundland), Thence they stood out .to sea again, and 
reached a level wooded country, with clifís of white 
sand. They called this country Markland, i. e. Wood- 
land (Nova Scotia). Again they put to sea, and after 
two days' sail reached an island, to the eastward of 
the mainland, and passed through the strait between 
this island and the mainland. They saued westward, 
and landed at a place where a river, issuing from a 
lake, fell into the sea. Here they wintered and built 


houses, which were afterwards called Leifsbiider 
(Leifsbooths.) During their stay, one of their num- 
ber, named Tyrker, a German, happened to wander 
some distance from the settlement, and on his return 
reported that he had found vines and grapes. These 
proving to be plentiful. Lief named the country Vin- 
land or Vineland (New England), and in the ensuing 
spring returned to Greenland. In the year 1002, 
Thorwald, Lief's brother, being of opinion that the 
country had been too Httle explored, borrowed his 
brother's ship, and with the assistance of his advice 
and instructions, set out on a new voyage. They 
arrived at Liefsbooths, in Yinland, remained there 
for the winter, and, in the spring of 1003, Thorwald 
sent a party in the ship's long boat on a voyage of 
discovery southwards. They found a beautiful and 
well-wooded country, with extensive ranges of white 
sand, but no traces of men, except a wooden shed 
which they found on an island lying to the westward. 
They returned to Liefsbooths m the autumn. In the 
summer of 1004, Thorwald sailed eastward and then 
northward, past a remarkable headland enclosing a 
bay, and which . was opposite to another headland. 
They called it Kialarnes (Keel-Cape). Continuing 
along the east coast, they reached a beautiful pro- 
montory, where they landed, Thorwald was so 
pleased with the place that he exclaimed, " Here is 
a beautiful spot, and here I should like well to fix 
my dwelhng." He had scarcely spoken before they 
encountered some Skrellings (Esquimaux) with whom 
they fell to blows, and a sharp conflict ensuing, Thor- 


wald received a mortal wound in his arm from an 
arrow. He died, and was buried by his own instruc- 
tions on the spot which had excited his admiring 
remark, the language of which appeared prophetic 
of a longer stay there than he had at first contem- 

The most distinguished, however, of all the first 
American discoverers is Thorfinn Karlsefne, an Ice- 
lander, whose genealogy is carried back in the old 
northern annals to Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, 
Scottish, and Irish ancestors, some of them of royal 
blood. In 1006 this chieftain visited Greenland, and 
there married Gudrida, the widow of Thurstein (son 
of Eric the Hed), who had died the year before m an 
unsuccessful expedition to Vinland. Accompanied 
by Snorre Thorbrandson, also a man of illustrious 
lineage, Biarne Grimolfson of Breidefiord, and Thor- 
hall Gamlason of Austfiord, he set sail in the spring 
of 1007 with three ships for Vinland. 

They had in all one hundred and sixty men, and 
as they went with the intention of colonising, they 
took with them a great variety and quantity of live 
stock. They sailed, first, to the Tresterbyd, and 
afterwards to Blarney (Disco) ; then to Helluland, 
where they found an abundance of foxes ; and thence 
to Markland, which was overgrown with wood, and 
plentifully stocked with a variety of animals. Pro- 
ceeding still in a south-westerly direction, with the 
land on the right, they came to a place where a frith 
penetrated far into the country ; off the mouth of it 
was an island, on Avhich they found an immense 


number of eyder ducks, so that it was scarcely pos- 
sible to walk without treading on their eggs. They 
called the island Straumey (Stream Isle) from the 
strong current which ran past it, and the frith they 
called Straumfiordr (Stream Frith). Here Thorhall 
and eight others left the party in quest of Vinland, 
but were driven by westerly gales to the coast of 
Iceland, where some say that they were beaten, and 
put into servitude. Karlsefne, however, with the 
remaining one hundred and fifty men, sailed south- 
wards, and reached a place were a river falls into the 
sea from a lake ; large islands were situated opposite 
the mouth of the river ; passing these, they steered 
into the lake, and called the place Hop. The low 
grounds were covered with wheat growing wild ; and 
the rising grounds with vines. Here they stayed till 
the beginning of the year 1008, when finding their 
lives in constant jeopardy from the hostile attacks oí 
the natives, they quitted the place, and returned to 
Eric's fiorde. In 1011 a ship arrived in Greenland, 
from Norway, commanded by two Icelandic brothers 
named Helge and Finnboge : to these men, Freydisa, 
a natural daughter of Eric the Red, proposed a voy- 
age to Vinland, stipulating that they should share 
equally with her the profits of the voyage. To this 
they assented, and it was agreed that each party 
should have thirty able-bodied men on board the 
ship, besides women ; but Freydisa secretly took 
with her five men in addition to that number. They 
reached Liefsbooths in 1012, and wintered there ; 
when a discussion arising, Freydisa had the subtlety 


to prevail on her husband to massacre the brothers 
and their followers ; after the perpetration of which 
base deed they returned to Greenland in the spring 
of 1013. 

In his expedition to Vinland in 1007, Thorfinn 
Karlsefne had been accompanied by his wife, Gud- 
rida, who bore him a son, Snorre, who became the 
founder of an illustrious family in Iceland, which 
gave that island several of its first bishops. Among 
these may be mentioned the learned Bishop Thorlak 
Kunolfson, to whom we are principally indebted for 
the oldest ecclesiastical code of Iceland, written in 
the' year 1123. It is also probable that the accounts 
of the voyages were originally compiled by him. 

The notices given in these old Icelandic accounts, 
of the climate, soil, and productions of the new 
country are very characteristic. It is curious that 
Adam of Bremen, in the eleventh century, though 
himself not a northman, states, on the authority of 
Svein Estridson, the King of Denmark, a nephew of 
Canute the Great, that the country of Vinland got 
its name from the vine growing wild there, and for 
the same reason the English re-discoverers gave the 
name of Martha's Vineyard to the large island close 
ofP the coast. 

It is fortunate that in these ancient accounts they 
have preserved the statement of the course steered 
and the distance sailed in a day. From various an- 
cient Icelandic geographical works it may be gathered 
that the distance of a day's sailing was estimated at 
from twenty-seven to thirty geographical miles — 


German or Danish — of which fifteen are equal to a 
degree, and are consequently equivalent to four 
English miles. From the island of Helluland, after- 
wards called little Helluland, Biarne sailed to Her- 
julfsnes (Ikigeit), in Greenland, with strong south- 
westerly winds, in four days. The distance between 
that cape and Newfoundland is about one hundred 
and fifty miles, which, if we allow for the strong 
south-westerly gales, will correspond with Biarne's 
voyage ; while the well-known barrenness of the flats 
of Newfoundland corresponds with the Hellue, or 
slates, which suggested the name the Northmen gave 
to the island. 

Markland being described as three days' sail south- 
west of Helluland, appears to be Nova Scotia ; and 
the low and level character of the country, covered 
with woods, tallies precisely with the descriptions of 
later writers. 

Vinland was stated to be two days' sail to the 
south-west of Markland, which would be from fifty- 
four to sixty miles. The distance from Cape Sable 
to Cape Cod is reckoned at about two hundred and 
ten English miles, which answers to about fifty-two 
Danish miles ; and in the account given by Biarne 
of their finding many shallows off the island to the 
eastward, we recognize an accurate description of 
Nantucket, and Kialarnes must consequently be 
Cape Cod. The Straumfiordr of the Northmen is 
supposed to be Buzzard's Bay, and Straumey, Mar- 
tha's Vineyard, though the account of the many eggs 
found there, would seem to correspond more correctly 


with Egg Island, which lies off the entrance of Vine- 
yard Sound. 

Krossanes is probably Gurnet Point. The Plop 
answers to Mount Hope's Bay, through which the 
Taunton river flows, and it was here that the Leifs- 
booths were situated. 

The ancient documents likewise make mention of a 
country called Huitramannaland (Whiteman's Land), 
otherwise Irland it Mikla (Great Ireland) supposed to 
be that part of the coast of North America, includ- 
ing North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. 
There is a tradition among the Shawanese Indians, 
who emigrated some years ago from Florida and set- 
tled in Ohio, that Florida was once inhabited by white 
people, who possessed iron instruments. The power- 
ful chieftain. Are Marson of Reykianes, in Iceland, — 
according to the account given by his contemporary 
Rafn, surnamed the Limerick trader, — was driven to 
Huitramannaland by storms in 983, and was baptised 
there. Are Frode likewise (the first compiler of the 
Landnama, and a descendant in the fourth degree 
from Are Marson) states that his uncle, Thorkell 
Gellerson, had been informed by Icelanders that Are 
Marson had been recognised in Huitramannaland, 
and was held in high respect there. This statement 
therefore shows that there was an occasional inter- 
course in those days between the Orkneys and Ice- 
land, and this part of America. 

It is further recorded in the ancient MSS. that the 
Greenland bishop Eric went over to Vinland in the 
year 1121 ; but nothing more than the fact is stated, 



and it simply corroborates the supposition of inter- 
course between the countries. Again, in the year 
1266, a voyage of discovery to the Arctic regions of 
America is said to have been performed, under the 
auspices of some clergymen of the bishopric of Gardar 
in Greenland ; and from the recorded observations 
made by the explorers, would seem to have been car- 
ried to regions whose geographical position has been 
more accurately determined by our own navigators. 
Parry and the two Rosses. The next recorded dis- 
covery was made by Adalbrand and Thorwald Helga- 
son, two Icelandic clergymen, in the year 1285. Con- 
temporaneous accounts state that they discovered a 
new land to the westward of Iceland, supposed to 
have been Newfoundland. The last record preserved 
in the ancient Icelandic MSS. relates a voyage from 
Greenland to Markland, performed by a crew of 
seventeen men, in the year 1347. The account written 
by a contemporary nine years after the event, mduces 
the belief that intercourse between Greenland and 
America had been maintained as late as the period 
here mentioned, for he speaks of Markland as a 
country still known and visited in those days. 

The obscurity of many portions of these narratives 
leaves much to be cleared up with reference to this 
interesting subject ; but their general truthfulness 
being corroborated by the traces of the residence and 
settlement of the ancient northmen exhibited in the 
inscriptions discovered in Kinkigtorsoak, Greenland, 
and Massachusetts, no room is left for disputing the 
main fact of the discovery. 


Between this peri(jd and the date of the first voyage 
of Cokimbus, the coast of America is reported to have 
been visited by the Arabians of the Spanish Penin- 
sula, the Welsh, the Venetians, the Portuguese, and 
also by a Pole in the service of Denmark. 

The Arabian expedition is described both by Edrisi 
and by Ibn-al-Wardi. It appears to have been under- 
taken by eight persons of the same family, called the 
Almagrurins or the Wandering Brothers, who having 
provided themselves with everything requisite for a 
long voyage, swore they would not return till they 
had penetrated to the extreme limits of the Sea of 
Darkness. They sailed from the port of Aschbona or 
Lisbon, and steered tow^ards the south-west, and at 
the end of thirty-five days arrived at the island of 
Gana or Sheep Island. The flesh of the sheep of 
this island bemg too bitter for them to eat, they put 
to sea again, and after sailing twelve days in a 
southerly direction, reached an island inhabited by 
people of a red skin, lofty stature, and with hair of 
thin growth but long and flowing over their shoulders. 
The inhabitants of this island told them that persons 
had sailed twenty days to the west without discover- 
ing land, and the Arabian brothers, diverted from 
the pursuit of their hardy enterprise by this dis- 
couraging account, retraced their course, and returned 
safely to Lisbon. From this description the elder de 
Guio-nes inferred that the Arabs had either reached 
the eastern coast of America, or at least one of the 
American islands ; an opinion, however, which ap- 
pears to have as little to sanction it, as his above 

c 2 


mentioned conjecture that the Chinese had discovered 
the west coast of America in the fifth century. The 
Baron von Humboldt concurs with the opiuion ex- 
pressed by the learned orientalist Tychsen in his 
Neue oriental unci exegetische BihliotJieh, and re- 
peated by Malte Brun, that the island reached by 
the Arab wanderers was one of the African islands. 
This conclusion is drawn from the circumstance that 
the Guanches, the original people of the Canary 
group, were a pastoral race, and also possessed the 
same external characteristics as the islanders here 
described. Moreover, the fact that the king of the 
island had an interpreter wlio spoke Arabic, together 
with the circumstance that the red men had sailed 
westward for a month without seeing land, strongly 
corroborates the opinion advanced. The precise date 
of this voyage is unknown, but Humboldt presumes 
that it must have been considerably anterior to the 
expulsion of the Arabs from Lisbon in 1147 ; because 
Edrisi, whose work was finished in 1153, speaks of 
the occurrence as if it were by no means recent. 

It is but upon a slight foundation, that the Welsh 
have pretended to raise a claim to the discovery; but 
slight as it is, there is certainly enough to render a 
decidedly negative assertion on the subject to the 
full as presumptuous as one decidedly affirmative 
would be. But as we have no concern with mere 
conjectures, we must in candour narrate, as suc- 
cinctly as possible, the grounds upon which these 
pretensions have been founded. 

The first account of this discovery is found in 


HumjDhrey Llwyd's translation of tlie History of 
Wales, by Caradoc of Llancarvan, published by Dr. 
Powell in 1584, According to him the occurrence 
took place as follows : — On the death of Owen 
Gwynedd, prince of North Wales, in 1169, a conten- 
tion arose amongst his numerous sons respecting the 
succession to the crown, when Madawe, or Madoc, 
one of their number, seeing his native country was 
likely to be embroiled in a civil war, deemed it more 
prudent to try his fortune abroad. In pursuance of 
this object he sailed with a small fleet of ships to 
the westward, and leaving Iceland on the north, 
came at length to an unknown country, where every- 
thing appeared new and uncommon and the manner 
of the natives different from all that he had ever 
seen. The country appearing to him, from its fertility 
and beauty, to be very desirable for a settlement, he 
left most of his own men behind him, (amounting, 
according to Sir Thomas Herbert, to a hundred and 
twenty), and returning to Wales, persuaded a con- 
siderable number of the Welsh to go out with him 
to the newly discovered country, and so with ten 
ships he again departed, and bade a final adieu to 
his native soil. This account of the historian Cara- 
doc of Llancarvan is the only afiirmative written 
document the story has upon which to ground its 
claim to authenticity, with the exception of an ode, 
written by a Welsh bard, Meredyth ab Rhys, who 
died in 1477, fifteen years before Columbus's first ex- 
pedition, in which an allusion is made to the event.* 

*•■ Tlie most «treuuüus advocate for the truth of the tradition 


A circumstance which would appear to confirm the 
truth of Madoc's voyages, is a pecuhar resemblance 
that has been found between some of the American 
dialects and the Welsh language ; but, as Dr. Robert- 
son reasonably remarks, the affinity has been observed 
in so few instances, and in some of these is so obscure 
or so fanciful, that no conclusion can be drawn from 
the casual resemblance of a small number of words. 
Dr. Williams adduces in confirmation of his favourite 
idea the authorities of Lopez de Gomara, Hornius, 
and Peter Martyr, pretending that they assert that 
traces of Christianity were found among the Ame- 
ricans by the Spaniards, as well as that there was 
a tradition among the Mexicans, that many years 
before a strange nation came amongst them, and 
taught them a knowledge of God. His references 
however appear entirely incorrect. 

Another pretension to an early discovery of Ame- 
rica has been founded upon an account given in a 
work published in Venice by Francesco Marcolini 
in 1558, entitled Dello sco'pi'imento delV Isole Fris- 
landa, Eslanda, Engrovelanda, Estotilcmda, ed Icaria, 
fatto sotto il Polo Ártico da due fratelli Zeni, M. 
Nicolo il K. c M. Antonio." The substance of the 
account is, that in 1380, Nicolo Zeno, a Venetian 
noble, fitted out a vessel at his own cost, and made 
a voyage to the north, with the intention of visiting 

that America was discovered by Prince Madoc, was Dr. John 
Williams of Sydenham, who wrote two tracts on the subject 
in the year 1791 and 1792, which, if betraying a little of the bias 
of prejudice, yet manifest a degree of research that does great 
credit to his industry and zeal. 


England and Flanders, but was driven by a storm to 
Friseland, now proved to be the Fseroe Archipelago. 
Being rescued from the attacks of the natives by 
Zichmni, a neighbouring prince, Zeno entered into 
the service of the latter, and assisted him in conquer- 
ing Friseland and other northern islands. He shortly 
after dispatched a letter to his brother Antonio, re- 
questing him to find means to join him; whereupon 
the latter purchased a vessel, and succeeded in reach- 
ing Friseland, where he remained fourteen years. 
During his residence there he wrote to his brother 
Carlo in Venice, and gave an account of a report 
brought by a certain fisherman, about a land to the 
westward. This account stated that about twenty- 
six years before, the fisherman, when out at sea with 
four fishing boats, was overtaken by a tempest, which 
drove them about for many days, and at length cast 
them on an island called Estotiland, about a thou- 
sand miles from Friseland. The inhabitants conveyed 
them to a fair and populous city, where the king sent 
for many interpreters to converse with them, but 
none that they could understand, until a man was 
found, who had likewise been cast away upon the 
coast, and who spoke Latin. They remained several 
days upon the island, which was rich and fruitful, 
abounding with all kinds of metals, and especially 
gold. Though much given to navigation, they were 
ignorant of the use of the compass, and finding the 
Friselanders acquainted with it, the king of the place 
sent them with tAvelve barques to visit a country to 
the south, called Drogeo. They had nearly perished 


in a storm, but were cast away upon the coast of 
Drogeo. The fisherman described this Drogeo as a 
country of vast extent, and that the inhabitants were 
naked and eaters of human flesh. He remained 
many years in the country, and became rich with 
trafficking between Estotiland and the main land, 
and subsequently fitted out a vessel of his own, and 
made his way back to Friseland. His narrative. in- 
duced Zichmni to undertake a voyage thither, in 
which he was accompanied by Antonio Zeno. It was 
unsuccessful : landing on an island called Icaria, they 
were roughly treated by the inhabitants, and a storm 
afterwards drove them on the coast of Greenland, 

This account was placed in the hands of Marcolini 
by Nicolo Zeno, a descendant of the family of the 
explorers, but it had to be made from fragments, he 
himself having, when a boy, from ignorance torn up 
a considerable quantity of the original documents, 
which were letters written by Antonio Zeno to Carlo 
his brother. In spite of a considerable amount of 
fable and exaggeration, defects which enter into the 
majority of early accounts of travel, it is scarcely to 
be believed that Nicolo Zeno the younger invented 
this voyage. He was a man of the highest reputa- 
tion, as may be seen by the encomium passed on him 
by Francesco Patrizio ; see Delia Historia died Di- 
aloghi di M. Francesco Patrizio, Y eneim, 1560, 4to., 
p. 30 verso. It is well known that the Venetians 
had made yearly voyages to the north of Europe for 
at least two centuries before the period in question, 
and the most important part of Zeno's publication, 


viz., the map, the original of which is stated to have 
hung up in his palace since the date of the discovery, 
bears evidence of a knowledge, however imperfect, of 
Scandinavian geography. The graduation of this 
map was inserted by Nicolo Zeno the younger him- 
self, and although inaccurate enough to cause much 
perplexity to geographers, there is no doubt that 
Greenland was laid down on it with more correctness 
than on any map preceding the date of its publica- 
tion. No map before that time shews the Island 
of Frisland with names thereon tallying with the 
names of the Fseroe islands. No map before 1558 
shews the discoveries of the Northmen in America, 
nor were any of the Sagas known to the Venetians 
before that time ; nor do any books previous to that 
period set forth the geography of those parts from 
which Nicolo Zeno could have stolen information. 
Moreover the correspondence of the Zeno map with 
surveys much later, as in Davis's Straits, is highly 
corroborative of its genuineness. Mr. Kohl, in his 
most valuable Documentary History of Discovery 
of the East Coast of North America, printed by 
the Maine Historical Society, 1869, 8vo., suggests 
that Icaria is Helluland or New^foundland ; Estoti- 
land, Markland or Nova Scotia ; and Drogeo, Vin- 
land or New England: and he further justly remarks 
that, assuming that the map is genuine, "it is the 
first and oldest known to us on which some sec- 
tions of the continent of America have been laid 

On an anonymous map in Weimar of the date of 


1424, ai]d on a map by Andrea Bianco,* in the 
library of St. Mark, bearing the date of 1436, is laid 
down a large extent of land, five or six hundred 
leagues v^^est of Gibraltar, above which is written the 
v/ord " Antillia." With reference to this subject, 
Martin Behaim, on his globe of 1492, says, " In the 
year 734, after the conquest of Spain by the Maho- 
metans, this island Antillia was discovered and set- 
tled by an archbishop from Oporto, who fled to it in 
ships with six other bishops and other Christian men 
and women. They built there seven towns, from 
which circumstance it has also been called Septem 
Citade, the island of the seven cities. In the year 
1414 a Spanish vessel came very near to it." Of the 
island of S. Brandan also, which is laid down on charts 
of the fourteenth century, Behaim says, " In the 
year 565, Saint Brandan, an Irish bishop, arrived 
with his vessel on this island, saw there most won- 
derful things, and returned afterwards to his coun- 
try." Another of these fancied islands in the Atlantic 
was the island of Brazil. So strong was the belief in 
the existence of these islands, that we find it stated 
by Pedro de Ayala, a Spanish envoy in England wrrit- 
ing to the sovereigns in 1498, that the Bristol men 
had sent out every year from 1491 (before Columbus's 
first great discovery) to 1497, two, three, or four cara- 
vels every year in search of the islands of Brazil and 
the seven cities, at the instigation of John Cabot. 

* A copy of this map is given in the second vol. of Sastre's 
Mercurio Itálico, Lond. 1789, 8vo., and a photograpli of it was 
published in Venice in ISGO by H. F. and M. Münster. 


The following passage occurs iii Sir John Barrow's 
Chronological History of Voyages in the Arctic Re- 
gions, which, if it stated a defensible truth, would 
present another claim, anterior to that of Columbus, 
to the discovery of America. The passage is headed 
"Cortereals, 1500";— 

" The Portuguese, not content with having dis- 
covered a route to India, by sailing round the tem- 
pestuous extremity to Africa, soon after engaged in 
an equally dangerous enterprise : that of findmg a 
route to India and the Spice Islands, by sailing 
westward round the northern extiemity of America. 
This bold undertaking was reserved for the CoR- 
TEEEALS, the enlightened disciples of the school of 
Sagres. The first navigator of the name of Cortereal, 
who engaged in this enterprise, was John Vaz Costa 
Cortereal, a gentleman of the household of the infant 
Dom Fernando, who, accompanied by Alvaro Martens 
Homem, explored the northern seas, by order of king 
AiFonso the Fifth, and discovered the Terra de Bac- 
calhaos (the land of cod fish), afterwards called New- 
foundland. This voyage is mentioned by Cordeiro,* 
but he does not state the exact date, which however 
is ascertained to have been in 1463 or 1464 ; for, in 
their return from the discovery of Newfoundland, or 
Terra Nova, they touched at the island of Terceira, 
the captaincy of which island having become vacant 
by the death of Jacomo Bruges, they solicited the 
appointment, and in reward for their services the re- 

* The work quoted is Coi-dcyro's Historia Insulana das llJias a 
J'orltajal surjeijtas no Océano Occidcnlal, Lisbon 1717. 


quest was granted, their patent commission being 
dated in Evora, 2nd April, 1464." 

It will be seen by the wording of this passage, that 
Sir John Barrow has fallen into the inaccuracy of as- 
serting that, in 1463 or 1464, Cortereal was engaged 
in the enterprise of findhig a route to India and the 
Spice Islands by sailing westward round the northern 
extremities of America. We must presume that the 
Portuguese were aware of the existence of the Ameri- 
can continent, before they could conceive the idea of 
sailing westward round its northern extremity. The 
patent commission of the appointment of Cortereal 
and Homem to the government of Terceira does not 
specify that the service for v\^hich it was granted, 
was the discovery of Newfoundland ; and, moreover, 
at the endof Faria y Sonsas Asia Portuguesa, there 
is a list of all the armadas which sailed from Lisbon 
on voyages of discovery between 1412 and 1640, 
and this expedition is passed by in silence ; so that 
the validity of the whole sta,tement hangs on the 
authority of Cordeiro : but the account is altogether 
so extremely improbable, from the very silence of 
Portuguese writers of the time on so important a 
subject, as to leave Cortereal but small chance of a 
successful rivalry with Sebastian Cabot.* 

The last on the list of those who have been said to 

'•' For a demonstration that the discovery of the east coast of 
North America was made by Sebastian Cabot in 1497, a year 
before Columbus reached the terra firma, I must refer the reader 
to a paper of mine read before tlie Society of Antiquaries on 
!May 5, 1870, and now being printed for the Archa'ologia. 


precede Columbus in the discovery of America is a 
Polish pilot, named John Szkolny, whose name has 
been erroneously Latinized by Hornius, Zurla, Malte 
Erun, Wytfliet, and Pontanus, " Scolvus," or " Sciol- 
vus." He was in the service of Christian II of Den- 
mark in the year 1476, He is said to have landed 
on the coast of Labrador, after having passed along 
Norway, Greenland, and the Friseland of the Zeni. 
Upon this subject Von Humboldt thus expresses 
himself: "I cannot hazard any opinion upon the 
statement made to this effect by Wytfliet, Pontanus, 
and Horn. A country seen aftei' Greenland may, 
from the direction indicated, have been Labrador. I 
am, however, surprised to find that Gomara, who 
published his Historia de las Indias at Saragossa, in 
1553, was cognizant even at that time of this Polish 
pilot. It is possible that when the codfishery began 
to bring the seamen of southern Europe into more 
frequent connexion with those of the north, a sus- 
picion may have arisen that the land seen by Szkolny 
must have been the same as that visited by John 
Sebastian Cabot in 1497, and by Gaspar Cortereal 
in 1500. Gomara says what is in other respects not 
quite correct, that the English took much pleasui^e in 
frequenting the coast of Labrador, for they found 
the latitude and climate the same as that of their 
native la^id, and the men of Norway have been there 
with the pilot, John Scolvo, as ivell as the English 
with Sebastian Cabot. Let us not forget that Gomara 
makes no mention of the Polish pilot with reference 
to the question of the predecessors of Columbus, 


thouofli he is maÜOTiant enoiiofh to assert that it is in 

O c> ij 

fact impossible to say to whom the discovery of the 
New Indies is due."* 

In the American Philosophical Transactions for 
1786, is a letter addressed to Dr. Franklin by Mr. 
Otto of New York, in which he not only asserts that 
the illustrious cosmographer Martin Behaim dis- 
covered the Azores, but quotes a passage, from what 
he calls an authentic record, preserved in the archives 
of Nuremberg, the tenor of which is as follows :— 
" Martin Behem, traversing the Atlantic Ocean for 
several years, examined the American Islands, and 
discovered the strait which bears the name of Magel- 
lan, before either Christopher Columbus or Magellan 
navigated those seas ; and even mathematically de- 
lineated on a geographical chart for the king of 
Lusitania, the situation of the coast around every 
part of that famous and renowned strait." He also 
quotes passages from the Nuremherg Chronicle, and 
from Cellarius, in confirmation of this statement. 
Don Cristóbal Cladera, in his Investigaciones His- 
tóricas, says that, in order to refute these statements, 
he procured from Nuremberg a description of Behaim's 
globe, together with historical notes on the life and 
family of that geographer, and upon examining these 
and the unpublished works of the Academia de las 

* Humboldt has fallen into an error in saying that Joachim 
Lelewel, in his Pisma pomniejsze geogr. historijczne, 1814, has 
recently called up fresh attention to this Polish pilot. The editor 
has examined the work carefully from beginning to end, and does 
not find the name even once mentioned, although the page to 
which reference is made contains allusions to early discoveries. 


Ciencias de Lisboa, he became convinced that the 
observations of Mr. Otto were totally unfounded ; 
and De Miut, who has well investigated the question, 
assures us that the passage quoted by Mr. Otto from 
the Nuremberg Chronicle was not to be found in the 
German translation of that work by George Alt in 
1493. Moreover, the real globe of Behaim, made in 
1492, does not contain any of the islands or shores of 
the New World ; a fact which sets at rest the two 
questions of Behaim's earlier discovery, or of Colombus 
gaining his information from Behaim.* 

From the series of evidences contained in the pre- 
ceding accounts, the fact that America had been 
visited by European adventurers before the time of 
Columbus is rendered too certain to admit of con- 
tradiction even from the most sanguine advocate of 
the glory of the great discoverer. But, on the other 
side, it cannot be denied that the discovery of 
Columbus, however much later in date, deserves the 
meed of highest honour, as being the result of 
sagacity, judgment and mdomitable perseverance, 
and as having been carried on with an energetic 
endeavour to bring into active operation the in- 
calculable advantages which it opened up to the 
world at large. To vindicate the correctness of 
this statement, it will be well to give a brief sketch 
of his eventful life, and to pourtray as briefly as 
we may the high qualities to which, far more than 

* A copy of this globe is given in Dr. F. W. Gliillany's 
Gescliiclite des Seefahrers Bitter Martin Behahn, Niirnberg, 18-53, 


to accidental circumstances, the glory of this great 
discovery is due. The retrospect of his history will 
at the same time shew, that while every previous 
discovery was attributable to accident, the greater 
portion of the accidental or uncontrollable circum- 
stances in the life of Columbus were such as, instead 
of assisting him, tended to thwart him at every step 
of his painful career. 

It is generally agreed that his father was a wool 
weaver or carder. There is reason, however, to pre- 
sume that though his parentage was humble, he was 
descended from a family of consideration. On this 
subject his son, Don Ferdinand, denies* with great 
indignation an assertion which occurs in a curious 
life of the admiral, inserted in the Psalterimn Octu- 
plex Augustini Justmiani" Genoa, 1516, folio, under 
the comments on the nineteenth psalm, that he was 
" vilibus ortus parentibus," and complains that he is 
falsely called a mechanic. 

The date of his birth is a "vexata qusestio," which 
it would be well that we should here examine. For 
settling a disputed question of the kind no process 
seems so sure as the comparing of statements made 
by the individual, if he be a good authority, at 
diflPerent times and under diiferent circumstances. 
The following are two statements made by Columbus 
himself at entirely diiferent periods and in an entirely 
diiferent shape, and yet both having the same result. 
They are recorded by his son, Fernando, in the Bio- 
graphy of his father, and are as follows : "In his 

* Historie del S. D. Fernando Colomho, cap. iv. 


book of his first voyage [1492] he says, ' I was upon 
the sea twenty-three years without being off it any 
time worth the speaking of, and I saw all the East 
and all the West, and may say towards the North or 
England, and have been at Guinea. Yet I never saw 
harbours for goodness like those of the West Indies,' 
and a little further he says, ' That he took to the sea 
at fourteen years of age and ever after followed it.' 
Now we know for certain that he escaped from Lisbon 
and came to Andalusia at the close of 1484; that 
during his stay in Portugal he had made many 
voyages to Guinea, but that from 1484 until his first 
great voyage in 1492 he was engaged, not at sea, but 
in endeavouring to secure the interest of the Spanish 
sovereigns in his important project. If then we add 
his twenty-three years of almost constant sea-going 
to fourteen, his age when he first went to sea, we 
have thirty-seven years to deduct from 1484, and we 
find 1447 to be the date of his birth. Again in 1501, 
many years later, he writes to the Spanish sovereigns 
as follows: "I went to sea very young and have con- 
tinued it to this day;... it is now forty years that I 
have been sailing to all those parts at present fre- 
quented." What "very young" meant he had already 
told us; viz, 14, which added to 40 makes 54; and 
this total deducted from 1501, the date at which he 
writes, leaves the same date for his birth as that 
resulting from his former statement, viz, 1447. But 
for the sake of attaining as near to accuracy as pos- 
sible, we must not overlook another statement made 
in 1503 by Columl)us himself in his letter to Feixli- 


nand and Isabella, describing his fourth voyage. He 
there says "I was twenty-eight years old when I 
came into Your Highnesses service, and now I have 
not a hair upon me that is not grey." It was in 
1484 that he went to Spain, and then, as we have 
seen, terminated those three-and-twenty years of 
almost uninterrupted sea-faring life of which he 
speaks. Now, if he were then only eight-and-twenty, 
he must have first gone to sea at the age of five in- 
stead of fourteen, as he himself informs us. More- 
over, by that reckoning he would have been only fifty 
Avhen he died, in 1506, an age entirely incompatible 
with the statement of Beiiialdez, the Cura de los 
Palacios, who knew Columbus so well, that he died 
Í7i senectute bond, at the age of seventy, more or less. 
It is intelligible that such a remark should be made 
of a man of sixty, who had passed through hardships 
so exhausting to the mind and body as those which 
had marked the life of Columbus, but scarcely even 
of him at the age of fifty. It is clear, then, that a 
mistake has been made in this number 28, but if for 
it we write 38, it will make the date of Columbus's 
birth to be 1446. We have, however, to bear in 
mind that the two statements previously made by 
him were of a very general character, in which no 
month or part of a year was specified. It would 
th^srefore seem that, on his own showing, we shall be 
safe in placing the date of his bkth 1446-47, which 
agrees with the inference of the learned and judici- 
ous Muñoz, who places it "por los años 1446," 
although he does not show the process by which he 
arrives at his conchision. 


Witli res})ect to the birthplace of our illustrious 
navigator, were we to enter into the complex discus- 
sions of those who, with different arguments of more 
or less plausibility, place it in Genoa, Nervi, Savona, 
Pradello, Cogoleto, Quinto, Bogliasco, Albisola, Ch la- 
vara, Oneo;lia, or the castle of Cuccaro in Monferrato, 
— we should but launch upon a sea of difficulties, 
with little hope of a successful voyage. It is difficult 
to withhold credence from the strong assertion made 
twice by Columbus in his will, dated 22nd February 
1498, that he was born in the city of Genoa; namely, 
— "I, being a native of Genoa"; and "I desire my 
said son Diego, or the person who may succeed to 
the said inheritance, always to keep and maintain 
one jDorson of our lineage in the city of Genoa... be- 
cause from thence I came, and there I was born."*' 
But in like manner we know that Leonardo, who 
was born at Vinci, persisted in calling himself a 

Having early evinced a strong inclination for the 
study of geogi aphy, geometry, and astronomy, Colum- 
bus found at the college of Pavia an excellent oppor- 
tunity of gaining a more than superficial acquaintance 
with the principles of those sciences, and at the same 
time acquired considerable proficiency in the Latin 
language. The maritime position and commercial en- 
gagements of his native city doubtless suggested and 

* '^Siendo yo nacido en Genova"; and '^ mando al dicho Don 
Diego, mi Jrijn, a la persona que heredare el dicho mayorazgo que 
tenga y sostenga siempre en la Ciudad de Genova, ima persona de 
nuestro ¡inar/e.. .pnes ipw dclla salí y en, ella varí.'' 



fostered much of that propensity for a nautical hfe, 
that he exhibited at so early an age; and although it 
appears from several historians that for a short time 
he worked at his father's trade, yet this must have 
been simply during his earliest boyhood, for by his own 
account he commenced the life of a mariner at fourteen 
years of age. The piratical character of the seafaring 
life of those days necessarily exposed its followers to 
unceasing hardships and dangers, and the severity of 
this early discipline must have most materially tended 
to render available and permanent those distinguished 
qualities which have subsequently gained for him the 
admiration of the world : indeed, no career could have 
been better calculated to develope his peculiar genius, 
or add fuel to those enthusiastic aspirations which 
characterised him to the close of his life. 

From the period of his going to sea, which was 
about the year 1460 until the year 1472, we meet with 
no distinct mention of his name ; although in a letter 
written by him to their Majesties, in 149.5, he says: 
'' It happened to me that king Réné (whom God has 
taken to himself) sent me to Tunis to capture the 
galley Fernandina, and on ari'iving at the island of 
San Pedro, in Sardinia, I learned that there were 
two ships and a caracca tvith the galley, which so 
alarmed the crew that they resolved to proceed no 
further, hut to 7'eturn to Ma7'seilles for another vessel 
and more people; upon which, being unable to force 
their inclination, I yielded to their wish, and having 
first changed the points of the compass, spread all 
sail, for it ivas evening, and at daybreak ive were 


UHthiii the cape of Carthagena, while all believed for 
a certainty that they ivere going to Marseilles.^' The 
date of this occurrence is unknown, but the expedient 
of Cohimbus to alter the point of the needle, reminds 
us of his subsequent stratagem, of altering his reckon- 
ing, to appease his discontented crew during his first 
great voyage of discovery. 

In the year 1472, however, we have evidence of his 
having been in Savona, from the fact of his signature 
having been found appended to the will of one Nicolo 
Monleone, under date of the 20tli March of that year. 
The document is preserved in Savona, among the 
notarial archives. 

In 1474 we find his name mentioned in a letter 
addressed by Ferdinand king of Sicily to Louis king 
of France, the title of which runs thus: ''^ Liter ce a 
Ferdinando Rege Sicilice ad Ludovicum XI, Gallice 
Regem, jx'r Fcecialem missce, quibus quceritur, quod 
Christophorus Columbus triremes siias deprcedatus 
sit, 2)ostulatque sibi ablata restitui. Datum in Terra 
Fogice die 8 Decembr. 1474." Then follows a letter 
in five lengthy clauses, in which it is stated that the 
said vessels were attacked and taken: — "A Columbo, 
qui quibusdam navibus prceest, Majestatis vestrce 

The title of Louis's reply i*uns thus: " Resjwnsio 
Ludovici XI quibus p>romittit restitutio7iem, excusat 
tamen Coliimbum, quod jus sit in Océano capere 
naves ah hostilibns terris ve^iientes et saltern bona 
hostium inch auferre." These letters are given by 
Leibnitz, in his Codcj- Juris Gentium Diplomaticus, 


Prodromits, art. 16 and 17; but on the correction of 
Nicolas Toinard, lie acknowledges, in tlie preface to 
his Mantissa Codicis, that he had erroneously inserted 
the Christian name "Christophorus." 

Toinard's correction went to shew that Leibnitz 
had confounded the name of Guillaume de Caseneuve, 
surnamed Coulomp, Coulon, or Colon, as the Spaniards 
called him, with that of the illustrious discoverer. 
This acknowledgment by Leibnitz of his error might 
seem to render useless any reference to the letters in 
question; but as Christopher Columbus is stated by 
his son, Don Ferdinand, to have been of the same 
family as the pirate here mentioned, and also to have 
been engaged at sea with him and his nephew, it 
becomes interesting to examine what record exists of 
these illustrious ph-ates, and to see how far the asser- 
tion of Don Ferdinand bears the semblance of cor- 
rectness. This Caseneuve, or Colon, is called by 
Duelos, in speaking of the very circumstance which 
occasioned these letters, in his Histoire de Louis XI, 
" Vice-AmiraldeF'rance, et le plus grand homme de 
mer de son temps." And Zuiita, m his Libro 19 de 
los Anales de Aragón, calis him, " Colon, capitán de 
la Armada del Rey de Francia J' Garnier, in his 
Histoire de Frayice, thus relates the circumstance: 
" Guillaume de Casenove, V ice- Amir al de Normandie, 
connu dans notre histoire sous le 7iom d'Amircd 
Coulon, sétait rendu formidable sur toutes les mers 
de VEm'ope, oit il exergait le metier d'armateur: 
dans une de ses courses il sempara de deux riches 
/regates chargées pour le compte des plus riches 


négocians de Naples, de Florence, et de 'plu^eurs 
autres villes d'ltalie, qui tout solliciterent vivement la 
restitution de cette importante prise" 

Another exploit, in which this Colon was success- 
fully engaged, was the taking of eighty Dutch ships 
returning from the herring fishery, m the Baltic, in 
1479. Again, another sea-fight related by Marc An- 
tonio Sabelico, in the eighth book of his tenth Decade, 
is quoted by Don Fernando, where Columbus the 
younger (described by Sabelico as the nephew, but by 
Zurita as Francis, the son of the famous corsair), 
intercepted, between Lisbon and Cape St. Vincent, 
four richly laden Venetian galleys, on their return 
from Flanders. Fernando further asserts that his 
father (Christopher) was present in this engagement, 
and that after a desperate contest, which lasted from 
morning till evening, the hand-grenades and other 
fiery missiles used in the battle, caused a general con- 
flagration among the vessels, which having been lashed 
together with iron grapplings, could not be separated, 
and the crews were compelled to leap into the water 
to escape the fire. He then goes on to say that "his 
father, who was a good swimmer, finding himself at 
the distance of two leagues from the land, seized an 
oar, and by its aid succeeded in reaching the shore. 
Whereupon, learning that he was not fiir from Lisbon, 
where he knew he should find many natives of Genoa, 
he went thither, and meeting with a gratifying recep- 
tion, took up his abode in that city," The engagement 
here described is shown by various French historians 
to have taken place in 1485, and as it is certain that 


Columbus was in Lisbon prior to 1474 (for in that 
year he has a letter addressed to him in that city by 
Paolo Toscanelli, in reply to one written by himself 
from the same place), this relation by Don Ferdinand 
assumes a very apocryphal aspect. 

With respect to his other statement, that his father 
was of the same name and family as these two re- 
nowned corsairs, it is to be remarked that neither he 
nor any of the subsequent historians who have claimed 
this needless honour for the great discoverer, appears 
to have been acquainted with the real name of the 
pirates ; and as Caseneuve was the strict family name 
of the latter, and Coulon merely a superadded sur- 
name, we may fairly conclude that the claim to con- 
sanguinity has no other foundation than the identity 
in the Spanish language of Columbus's patronymic 
with the distinguishing surname of the French vice- 

In the Chronique Scandaleuse {iolio 109) this Ca- 
seneuve is said to have had a very handsome man- 
sion, named Gaillart-Bois, in the neighbourhood of 
Notre Dame d'Escouys, in Normandy, at which Louis 
XI made a stay of two or three days in the month of 
June 1475, and returned thither also in the following 
month and stayed there some time. Spotorno sug- 
gests that his name of Coulon may have been derived 
from a place so called in the province of Berri; so 
that, in addition to the evidence that he was not of 
the same name or family with Christopher Columbus, 
f there arises strong reason to believe that he was in 


reality a Frenchman : * in which case it becomes pro- 
bable that an event which has been generally attri- 
buted to him, or to his still more renowned relative 
Francois Caseneuve, would be with greater correctness 
ascribed to the Genoese navigator, Christopher Co- 
lumbus. It appears that, in a letter dated Terra 
d'Otranto, 2nd October, 1476 (preserved, according to 
Bossi, in the royal archives at Milan), addressed to the 
Duke of Milan by two illustrious gentlemen of that 
city, — the one Guid' Antonio Arcimboldo, and the 
other Giovanni Giacomo Trivulzio — the followmg 
story is related. It says that the captain of the Vene- 
tian fleet, when stationed off Cyprus to defend the 
island, had twice encountered a Genoese ship, called 
the "Nave Palavisina," which he had taken to be a 
Turkish caracca; and in these two engagements one 
hundred and twenty of the Turks and Genoese had 
been killed, and in the Venetian squadron thirty had 
been killed, and two hundred wounded. The captain 
appears to have had doubts whether he might not 
have done wrong, and caused offence to the duke of 
Milan, who might perhaps be an ally of the Genoese : 
he therefore goes on to say that his only desire had 
been to meet with his enemies (the Turks) and plun- 
der them; and adds, in confirmation of that assertion, 
that "a year before he had met with three times as 
many galleys, who spoke no evil of his good name, and 
that he found Columbus with ships and galleys, and 

* Another Caseneuve, probably of this family, is said by De 
Bry to have been captain of the fourth expedition of the French 
to ^Mexico, in the year 1567. 


had cheerfully let him pass by, upon which the cry was 
raised of 'Viva San Georgio/ and nothing further 
passed between them." The Columbus here mentioned 
is shewn, by the cry of "Viva San Georgio/'ancl by the 
general tenour of the Venetian captain's letter, to have 
been a Genoese, and with a Genoese crew; and as it 
appears probable that the Casen euves were French- 
men, and would in all probability sail with French 
crews, it leaves strong reason to presume that the 
Genoese captain here mentioned was Christopher 
Columbus, who is allowed by all his early historians 
to have been engaged in the Mediterranean about the 
period referred to. 

His son, Ferdinand Columbus, distinctly states 
that, "it was in Portugal that the admiral began to 
surmise, that, if the Portuguese sailed so far south, 
one might also sail westward, and find lands in that 

The period of Christopher Columbus's sojourn in 
Portugal was from 1470 to the close of 1484, during 
which time he made several voyages to the coast of 
Guinea in the Portuguese service. While at Lisbon 
he married Felipa Moñiz de Perestrello, daughter of 
that Bartollomeu Perestrello to whom Prince Henry 
had granted the commandership of the island of 
Porto Santo. For some time Columbus and his wife 
lived at Porto Santo with the widow of Perestrello, 
who, observmg the interest he took in nautical 
matters, spoke much to him of her husband's expedi- 
tion, and handed over to him the papers, journals. 


maps, and nautical instruments, which Perestrello 
had left behind him.* 

" It was not only," says Ferdinand Columbus (see 
Vida, cap. 8), "this opinion of certain philosophers, 
that the greatest part of our globe is dry land, that 
stimulated the admiral; he learned, also, from many 
pilots, experienced in the western voyages to the 
Azores and the Island of Madeira, facts and signs 
which convinced him that there was an unknown land 
towards the west. Martin Vicente, pilot of the 
King of Portugal, told him that at a distance of four 
hundred and fifty leagues from Cape St. Vincent, he 
had taken from the water a piece of wood sculptured 
very artistically, but not with an iron instrument. 
This wood had been driven across by the west wind, 
which made the sailors believe, that certainly there 
were on that side some islands not yet discovered. Pe- 
dro Correa, the brother-in-law of Columbus, told him, 
that near the island of Madeira he had found a similar 
piece of sculptured wood, and coming from the same 
western direction. He also said that the King of 

* Las Casas, in his History of the Indies, tells us distinctly that 
Columbus derived much information from Perestrello' s maps and 
papers, and adds that " in order to acquaint himself practically 
with the method pursued by the Portuguese in navigating to the 
coast of Guinea, he sailed several times with them as if he had 
been one of them." Las Casas says that he learned this from 
the admiral's son Diego, adding that " some time before his 
famous voyage Columbus resided in Madeii'a, where news of 
fresh discoveries was constantly arriving, and this," he says, 
" appeared to have been the occasion of Christopher Columbus 
coming to Spain, and the beginning of the discovery of this 
great world" (America). 


Portugal had received mformation of large canes 
having been taken up from the water in these parts, 
which between one knot and another would hold nine 
bottles of wine; and Herrera (Dec. 1, lib, 1, cap, 2) 
declares that the king had preserved these canes, and 
caused them to be shown to Columbus. The colonists 
of the Azores related, that when the wind blew 
from the west, the sea threw up, especially in the 
islands of Graciosa and Fayal, pines of a foreign spe- 
cies. Others related, that in the island of Flores 
they found one day on the shore two corpses of men, 
whose physiognomy and features differed entirely 
from those of our coasts. Herrera, perhaps from the 
MSS. of Las Casas, says, that the corpses had broad 
faces, different from those of Christians. The trans- 
port of these objects was attributed to the action of 
the west winds. The true cause, however, was the 
great current of the Gulf or Florida stream. The 
west and north-west winds only increase the ordi- 
nary rapidity of the ocean current, prolong its action 
towards the east, as far as the Bay of Biscay, and 
mix the waters of the Gulf stream with those of the 
currents of Davis' Straits and of North Africa. The 
same eastward oceanic movement, which in the fif- 
teenth century carried bamboos and pines upon the 
shoi'es of the Azores and Porto Santo, deposits an- 
nually on Ireland, the Hebrides, and Norway, the 
seeds of tropical plants, and the remains of cargoes 
of ships which had been wrecked in the West Indies,* 
While availing himself of these sources of informa- 
* Humboldt, Examen Crtiitj:Ue, vol, ii, p. 2-46-251. 


tion, Columbus studied with deep and careful atten- 
tion the works of such geographical authors as sup- 
plied suggestions of the feasibility of a short western 
passage to India. Amongst these, the Imago Mundi 
of Cardinal Pierre d'Ailly (Petrus de Aliaco) was his 
favourite, and it is probable that from it he culled 
all he knew of the opinions of Aristotle, Strabo, and 
Seneca, respecting the facility of reaching India by a 
western route, Columbus's own copy of this work 
is now in the cathedral of Seville, and forms one of 
the most precious items in the valuable library, 
originally collected by his son Ferdinand, and be- 
queathed to the cathedral on condition of its being 
constantly preserved for public use. It contains 
many marginal notes in his own handwriting, but of 
comparatively little importance. 

The fondness of Columbus for the works of Pierre 
d'Ailly, a Frenchman, has caused a recent French 
writer, M, Margry, to put forth the empty preten- 
sion that the discovery of America was due to the 
influence of French teaching, whereas, not only was 
the Imago Mundi itself a compilation from ancient 
authors, but the first edition was not printed till 
many years after Columbus had devoted himself to 
the purpose which ended in his great discovery, for 
his famous correspondence with Toscanelli, of which 
I shall presently speak, occurred in 1474. M. Margry, 
indeed, asserts, but without giving his authority, that 
in the Columbian Library at Seville are D'AiUy's 
treiiiises planted at Nuremberg in 1472. This is in 
contravention of all the bibliographers — Panzer, 


Ebert, Hain, Serna Santander, Lambinet, and Jean 
de Launoy. 

The earliest date assigned to the first edition of 
the hnago Miindi, is about 14 80 by Serna Santander, 
1483 (?) by Lambinet, while Jean de Launoy, in his 
liegii Navarrw Gynmasii Parisiensis Historia, 
Parisiis, 1677, torn, ii, page 478, distinctly gives 
it the date of 1490. Humboldt, who had Columbus's 
copy in his hands, and who, as the subject was es- 
pecially his own, cannot be suspected of sleeping 
over such an important point, adopts De Launoy 's 
date of 1490, while Lambinet gives the queried 
date of 1483 from actual collation with another 
work printed in that year, at Louvain, in the very 
identical type, by John of Westphalia. In the 
recently published second volume of the Ensayo de 
una bihliotheca de libros espa^^oles raros, por Don 
Bartolomé Gallardo, is a list of the books in the 
Columbian Library, but D'Ailly's Imago Miindi is 
not therein mentioned, although his QucestioJies, 
printed much later by Jean Petit at Paris, a far less 
important book, is inserted. The omission is to be 
regretted, as we might have hoped for some illustra- 
tive comments from the author. 

But perhaps it may be suggested that Columbus 
may have possessed, or seen, a manuscript copy of 
Pierre d'Ailly at a yet earlier period. We will will- 
ingly suppose it for the sake of the argument ; but 
even then the reasoning will fail, for I find that the 
very portion of the Imago Mundi, written in 1410, 
which is assumed to have suj^plied the insj^iration 


for the discovery of America, and which Cokimbus 
quoted in his letter to Ferdinand and Isabella from 
Haiti in 1498, is taken hi/ Piense cVAilly, without 
acknowledgment, almost ivord for word, from the 
" Opus Majus," of Roger Bacon, written in 1267, a 
hundred and forty-three years before, as will be seen 
at page 183 of that work, printed Londini, 1733, 
fol. See Humboldt, Examen Critique, tom. i, pp. 

Unfortunately Roger Bacon was not a Frenchman, 
])ut there remains for M. Margry the consolatory fact 
that no Englishman is likely to avail himself of the 
circumstance which I have just enunciated, to claim 
for his countrymen the honour of having inspired 
Columbus with the idea which led to the discovery 
of America, although, by M. Margry 's process of 
reasoning, he might do so if he would. True, Roger 
Bacon had been a student in the University of Paris ; 
but this fa,ct did not communicate the character of 
French inspiration to the ancient authors whose 
statements he quotes. True also (but this is a cii- 
cumstance either unknown to or unnoticed by M. 
Margry), Ferdinand Columbus tells us that his 
father was principally influenced in his belief of the 
smallness of the space between Spain and Asia, by 
the opinion of the Arab astronomer, Al Fergani, or 
Alfragan, to that effect ; and it is further true that 
Alfragan is further treated of by Pierre d'Ailly, in 
his Mcqypci Mundi. This is a separate work from the 
Imago Mundi, although it happens to have been 
printed with it, at a period which we have shown to 


be posterior to Columbus's correspondence with 
Toscanelli, in 1474. 

It follows, tlierefore, that either : 1st, the great 
explorer obtained his knowledge of Alfragan's opinion 
through one of tlie Arabo-Latin translations, to which 
he seems to have had recourse during his cosmo- 
graphical studies in Portugal and Spain (see Hum- 
boldt, Examen Critique, tom. i, p. 83), in which case 
French influence is eliminated ; or 2ndly, he derived 
it from a manuscrÍ2:)t of Pierre d'Ailly before 1474, 
which there is no evidence to show ; or 3rdly, he de- 
rived it from the printed copy of Pierre d'Ailly, in 
which case the influence of Alfragan on his mind 
could not have been primarily suggestive, but only 
corroborative of conclusions to which he had come 
several years before that book was printed. And in 
either of the two latter cases, the information sup- 
plied by Alfragan would not become French because 
adduced by a Frenchman, unless we introduce into 
serious history a principle analogous to the old con- 
ventional English blunder of giving to the toys 
manufactured in Nuremberg the name of " Dutch 
toys," because imported through Holland. 

The suggestions derived from these works were cor- 
roborated by the narratives of Marco Polo and Sir 
John Mandeville, whose reports of the vast extent of 
Asia eastward led to the reasonable inference, that 
the western passage to the eastern confines of that 
continent could not demand any considerable lengtli 
of time. The natural tendency of his thoughts to 
nautical enterprise being thus fostered by the works 


that he studied, and by the animating accounts of 
recent adventurers, as well as by the glorious pros- 
pects which the broad expanse of the unknown world 
opened up to his view, we find that in the year 1474 
his ideas had formed for themselves a determined 
channel, and his grand project of discovery was 
established in his mmd as a thing to be done, and 
done by himself The combined enthusiasm and 
tenacity of purpose which distinguished his character, 
caused him to regard his theory, when once formed, 
as a matter of such undeniable certainty, that no 
doubts, opposition, or disappointment, could divert 
him from the pursuit of it. It so happened that 
while Columbus was at Lisbon a correspondence was 
being carried on between Feniam Martms, a pre- 
bendary of that place, and the learned Paolo Tos- 
caneUi, of Florence, respecting the commerce of the 
Portuguese to the coast of Guinea, and the naviga- 
tion of the ocean to the Westward. This came to the 
knowledge of Columbus, who forthwith despatched 
by an Italian, then at his house, a letter to Toscanelli, 
informing him of his project. He received an answer 
in Latin, in which, to demonstrate his approbation of 
the design of Columbus, Toscanelli sent him a copy 
of a letter which he had written to Martins a few 
days before, accompanied by a chart, the most im- 
portant features of which were laid down from the 
descriptions of Marco Polo, The coasts of Asia were 
drawn at a moderate distance from the opposite 
coasts of Europe and Africa, and the islands of Ci- 
pango, Antilla, etc., of whose riches such astonishing 


accounts had been given by this traveller, were 
placed at convenient spaces between the two con- 

While all these exciting accounts must have con- 
spired to fan the flame of his ambition, one of the 
noblest points in the character of Columbus had to 
be put to the test by the difíiculty of carrying his 
project into eflect. The political position of Portugal, 
engrossed as it was with its wars with Spain, ren- 
dered the thoughts of an application for an expensive 
fleet of discovery worse than useless, and several years 
elapsed before a convenient opportunity presented 
itself for making the proposition. 

Meanwhile Columbus was not idle. In the year 
1477, he tells us, in a letter quoted by his son, Don 
Ferdinand, that " he sailed a hundred leagues heyond 
the island of Thide, the southern part of ivhich is dis- 
tant from the equinoctial line seventy-three degrees, 
and not sixty-three, as some assert; neither does it lie 
within the line which includes the west of Ptolemy, 
hut is much more ivesterly. To this island, which is 
as large as England, the English, especially those 
from Biistol, go ivith their merchandize. At the 
time that I ivas there the sea was not frozen, hut 
the tides ivere so great as to rise and fall twenty-six 
fathoms. It is true that the Thule of ivhich Ptolemy 
makes mention lies where he says it does, and hy the 
moderns it is called Frislanda." Wliether the Foeroe 
islands [see ante, page xxiii], or Iceland, was alluded 
to is uncertain, for nothing more is known of the 
voyage than is contained in this letter. It is more- 


over supposed by his son, as has been already stated, 
that he passed a considerable portion of his time at 
sea, with one or both of the famous pirates of the 
same name, who were so many years engaged in the 
Levant ; but upon the whole of this portion of his 
history there rests an impenetrable cloud of obscurity. 

About the year 1480, by the joint labours of the 
celebrated Martin Behaim and the prince's two phy- 
sicians, Boderigo and Josef, who were the most able 
geographers and astronomers in the kingdom, the 
astrolabe was rendered serviceable for the purposes 
of navigation, as by its use the seaman was enabled 
to ascertam his distance from the equator by the 
altitude of the sun. 

Shortly after this invaluable invention Columbus 
submitted to the king of Portugal his proposition of 
a voyage of discovery, and succeeded in obtainmg an 
audience to advocate his cause. He explained his 
views with respect to the facility of the undertaking, 
from the form of the earth, and the comparatively 
small space that intervened between Europe and the 
eastern shores of Asia, and proposed, if the king 
would supply him with ships and men, to take the 
direct western route to India across the Atlantic. 
His application was received at first discourag- 
ingly, but the king was at length induced, by the 
excellent arguments of Columbus, to make a con- 
ditional concession, and the result was that the pro- 
position was referred to a council of men supposed 
to be learned in maritime affairs. This council, con- 
sisting of the above-mentioned geogTaphers, Roderigo 

e 2 


and Josef, and Cazadilla, bishop of Ceuta, the king's 
confessor, treated the question as an extravagant 
absurdity. The king, not satisfied with their judg- 
ment, then convoked a second council, consisting of 
a considerable number of the most learned men in 
the kingdom ; but the result of their deliberations 
was only confirmative of the verdict of the first junta, 
and a general sentence of condemnation was passed 
upon the proposition. As the king still manifested 
an inclination to make a trial of the scheme of Colum- 
bus, and expressed a proportionate dissatisfaction with 
the decisions of these two juntas, some of his coun- 
cillors, who were inimical to Columbus, and at the 
same time unwilling to ofíend the king, suggested a 
process which coincided with their own views, but 
which was at once short-sighted, impolitic, and un- 
generous. Their plan was to procure from Columbus 
a detailed account of his design under the pretence 
of subjecting it to the examination of the council, and 
then to dispatch a caravel on the voyage of discovery 
under the false pretext of conveying provision to the 
Cape Verde Islands. King John, contrary to his 
general character for prudence and generosity, yielded 
to their insidious advice, and their plan was acted 
upon, but the caravel which was sent out, after 
keeping on its westward course for some days, en- 
countered a storm, and the crew, possessing none of 
the lofty motives of Columbus to support their reso- 
lution, returned to Lisbon, ridiculing the scheme in 
excuse of their own cowardice. So indignant was 
Columbus at this unworthy manoeuvre, that he re- 


solved to leave Portugal and offer his services to some 
other country, and towards the end of 1484 he left 
Lisbon secretly with his son Diego. The learned and 
careful Muñoz states his opinion that he went imme- 
diately to Genoa, and made a personal proposition to 
that government, but met with a contemptuous re- 
fusal ; at any rate, we are positively informed by 
Fernando Columbus that his father went to Spain at 
the close of 1484. A curious surmise is expressed 
in a note to Sharon Tiu'ner's History of England in 
the Middle Ages, in which the supposition is pro- 
pounded of the possible identity of Christopher 
Columbus with a person named Christofre Colyns, 
who is i^ecorded in some grants in the Harleian MSS. 
to have been military commandant of Queenborough 
castle, in the isle of Sheppy, in 1484 and 1485. 
This man is distinctly stated in the same grants to 
have held that post in April 1485, and it may be 
reasonably conjectured that the cessation of his office 
would not take place till the accession of Henry 
VII, in AiTgust m that year, which leaves but little 
time for his making his way to Genoa, and subse- 
quently reaching Spain, so as to make his application 
to that court. Moreover, the impoverished condition 
in which Columbus presented himself at the convent 
de la Rábida was very incompatible with the probable 
pecuniary position of a person, who is described by 
the grants in question not only to have held the pro- 
minent station already mentioned, but to have had 
a ship given him, with an annuity of £100, and an 
especial grant of money to enable hiin to supply 


himself with habiliments of war. These considera- 
tions, combined with the statement of Fernando 
Columbus just referred to, show that the supposition 
proposed by Mr. Turner cannot be regarded as 

The interesting story of Columbus's visit to the 
Franciscan convent of Santa Maria de Rábida forms 
the first incident that we find recorded of him 
after his arrival in Spain. It is well known that 
the lively interest which the worthy prior of that 
convent, Fray Juan Perez de Marchena, took in his 
guest, was the means, through the anticipated in- 
fluence of his friend Fernando de Tala vera, of first 
leading Columbus to the Spanish court, under the 
hope of obtaining the patronage of the king and 
queen. Talavera, who was prior of the monastery of 
Prado, and confessor to the queen, possessed great 
political interest, Juan Perez took advantage of this 
influential position of his friend, and addressed him 
a letter by the hands of Columbus, strongly recom- 
mending the project of the latter to his favourable 
consideration, and requesting his advocacy of it before 
the sovereigns. It was in the spring of 1486 that 
Columbus first ventured to the Spanish court in the 
hope of gaining a favoiu-able audience. On reaching 
Cordova, however, he had the mortification to find 
that Talavera, upon whose influence he mainly relied, 
regarded his design as unreasonable and preposterous. 
The court also was at that time so engrossed with 
the war at Granada, as to place any hope of gaining 
attention to his novel and expensive proposition out 


of tlie question. At length, at the close of 1486, 
the theory of Columbus, backed as it was by his 
forcible arguments and earnest manner, gained weight 
with the most important personage at court next to 
the sovereiofns themselves. This was Mendoza, arch- 
bishop of Toledo, and grand cardinal of Spain ; who, 
pleased with the grandeur of the scheme and the 
fervent but clear-headed reasoning of Columbus, 
adopted his cause, and became his staunch protector 
and friend. Through his means an audience was 
procured with the sovereigns, and the result of the 
interview was the expression of a favourable opinion, 
qualified by the necessity of an appeal to the judg- 
ment of the hterati of the country. But here again 
Columbus found himself in a painful predicament, 
which it required all his knowledge and prudence to 
escape from with safety. He was examined at Sala- 
manca by a council of ecclesiastics, and had to pro- 
pound opinions which appeared to be at variance 
with the descriptions contained in the sacred Scrip- 
tures, and that at a period when the expression of 
any sentiment approaching to heresy exposed its 
owner to the persecution of the newly established 
Inquisition. The ignorance of cosmography, and the 
blind conclusions drawn from various misinterpreted 
texts of Scripture, formed mighty impediments to 
the pleadings of Columbus, and he began to find 
himself in danger of being convicted not only of 
error, but of heresy. One learned man of the num- 
ber, however, Diego de Deza, tutor to prince John, 
and afterwards archbishop of Seville, appreciated the 


eloquent and lucid reasonings of the adventurer, and 
aiding him with his own powers of language and 
erudition, not only gained for him a hearing, but 
won upon the judgments of some of the most learned 
of the council. Nevertheless, so important a ques- 
tion could not be hastily decided ; and the result of 
the united pedantry and sluggish superstition of 
the learned body, was to expose the question to 
protracted argumentation or neglect, while Talavera, 
who was at its head, and from whom Columbus had 
hoped to receive the greatest assistance, was too busied 
with political matters to bring it to a conclusion. At 
length, in the early part of 1487, the deliberations 
of the council were brought to a stand-still by the 
departure of the court to Cordova, and were not re- 
sumed till the winter of 1491. During this weari- 
some period the bustle and excitement of the 
memorable campaign against the Moors, with its 
alternations of triumphant festivity, together with 
the marriage of the princess Isabella to the prince 
Alonzo, heir apparent of Portugal, were far too en- 
grossing to admit of much attention being given to 
the schemes of Columbus.* At the close, however, 
of the year 1491, the learned conclave appears to 
have recommenced its consultations ; but upon being 

* It was shortly after this period that Bartholomew Columbus 
was sent by his brother to king Henry YII, to offer his services 
in a voyage of navigation ; the king is said to have received the 
offer " con allegro volto" — " with a cheerful countenance"; but 
his acceptance of the proposition was rendered null by Colum- 
bus having in the interim attached himself to the service of 
queen Isabella. 


called upon by the sovereigns for a decision, a report 
was returned to Talavera that the scheme was con- 
sidered by the general vote of the junta too ground- 
less to be recommended. Accordingly Talavera was 
commanded to inform Columbus that the cares and 
expenses of the war precluded the possibility of their 
highnesses engaging in any new enterprises, but that 
when it was concluded, there would be both the will 
and the opportunity to give the subject further con- 
sideration. Regarding this as nothing better than 
a courteous evasion of his application, he reth-ed 
wearied and disappointed from the court, and, but 
for an attachment which he had formed at Cordova 
which made him reluctant to leave Spain, he would 
in all probability have repaired to France, under the 
encouragement of a favourable letter which he had 
received from that quarter. 

The ensuing period till 1492 was spent in a succes- 
sion of vexatious appeals to the Spanish court, dming 
which he had to contend with every obstacle that 
ignorance, envy, or a pusillanimous economy could 

At length having overcome all difficulties, he set 
sail with a fleet of three ships on the 3rd of August 
1942, on his unprecedented and perilous voyage. The 
ordinary difficulties which might be expected to occur 
in so novel and precarious an adventure were seriously 
aggravated by the alarming discovery of the variation 
of the needle, as well as by the mutinous behaviour 
of his crew ; and his life was upon the point of being 
sacrificed to their impatience, when the fortunate 


appearance of land, on the morning of the 12th of 
October, converted their indignation into compunc- 
tion, and their despondency into imboimded joy. 

With reference to the identity of the first landing 
place of Columbus in America, I too readily adopted 
in 1847 the conclusions of Navarrete that the Great 
Turk, the northernmost of the Turk islands, was 
the true landfall. I did so under the following 
process of reasoning. My predecessors in the con- 
sideration of the subject had been the learned Juan 
Bautista Muñoz in 1793, Navarrete in 182.5, Wash- 
ington Irving in 1828, and the Baron Alexander 
von Humboldt in 1837. It was the opinion of 
Muñoz that Guanahani was Watling's Island. Na- 
varrete, as just shown, placed it in the Grand Turk, 
far to the east, while Washington Irving and Hum- 
boldt made it to be Cat Island to the west. Such 
different conclusions, formed by thoughtful men from 
an examination of the diary of Columbus and other 
early documents, caased me to set a great value upon 
any modern reconnaissance of the locality which 
might throw a fuller hght upon these documents and 
perhaps show which of the conclusions was correct. 
Now, it so happened that a communication made a 
short time previously to the New York Historical 
Society by Mr. Gibbs, a resident on Turk's Island, 
presented several points of evidence strongly con- 
firmative of the correctness of Navarrete's deductions. 
The most* important of Mr. Gibbs's arguments were 
the following. Columbus states in his journal that 
there were several islands in sight from Guanahani. 


From the island now called San Salvador, Mr. Gibbs 
found no land visible. The journal speaks of sound- 
ings to the eastward of Guanahani : there were none 
to the eastward of San Salvador, All the marks 
wanting at San Salvador were found at Turk's 
Island. The journal describes Guanahani as well 
wooded, and having much water ; a large lake in the 
centre, and two several running streams flowing in- 
to the sea. Turk's Island has about one-third of its 
surface covered with lakes of salt and fresh water ; 
and a few years before vessels had sailed into one of 
the ponds. Although the island was now without 
trees, Mr. Gibbs recollected some remains of a forest 
existing in his youth. Moreover the journal makes 
no allusion to the Great Bahama Bank, which must 
have been passed in approaching San Salvador.* 
As Mr. Gibbs's personal observation thus appeared 
to corroborate the deductions of Señor de Navarrete, 
I yielded to this combination of evidence and so sub- 
mitted it to the reader. Since that time, however, 
we have seen other arguments advanced, in which 
local investigation, as well as the examination of the 
early documents, have resulted in conclusions as 
divergent as those which preceded them. Captahi 
Becher, B.N., of our own Hydrographic Office, in his 
Landfall of Columbus, published London, 1856, 
examining the question from a seaman's point of view, 
fell in with the opinion formed by Muñoz in 1793, 
that Guanahani was Watling's Island, while Señor de 
Varnhagen, in his La verdadera Guanahani de Colon, 

* Vide Ailicnxfum for 1846, page 1274. 


published at Santiago, 1864, maintains the unique 
opinion that it was the island of Mayaguana. 

Under these circumstances it has become a duty 
in me to revise my old opinion ; and while the pro- 
cess to which I shall resort will, as I hope, finally 
settle this much vexed question, it is happily one 
which will not lay me open to the charge of pre- 
sumption in giving a judicial verdict where men of 
such high renown have differed. I congratulate 
myself on having found a means of enabling the 
reader to judge for himself by a very simple mode 
of examination. Annexed is a fac-simile of Herreras 
map of the Bahama Islands, as laid down from the 
original documents in the handwriting of Columbus 
and his contemporaries, to which, as official historio- 
grapher of the Indies in the sixteenth century. Her- 
rera had exclusive access ; and side by side with it 
is a map, reduced from the Admiralty siu-vey, show- 
ing those islands as now known, and with their 
modern names. I indulge the hope that no one will 
contest the identification* of the respective islands 

* While agreeing with Captain Becher in the identification of 
Guanahani with Watling's Island, I find that ofíicer entirely at 
issue with the Diary of Columbus in making him anchor near the 
N.B. end of the island, and then sail round its northern point. 
In a detailed Paper on this subject, read by me on the 16th of 
September of this year, at the Meeting of the Geographical 
Section of the British Association at Liverpool, I had the honour 
of proving for the first time that the first anchorage of Columbus 
in the New World was on" the S.B. point of Watling's Island, a 
position which entirely tallies with all his movements as men- 
tioned in the Diary. 


laid down in the old map with those which I have 
set forth as their correlatives in the modern one, and 
if so, the Guanahani of Columbus will be plainly- 
seen to be Watling's Island. The correctness of this 
identification is not only confirmed, but made easily 
perceptible, by the fact that certain islands of the 
series have retained their ancient names without 
change from the beginning, thus affording stations 
for comparison which reduce the chances of error to 
a minimum. This map of Herrera's is of especial 
value for the purpose, because while it embodies the 
information contained in the map of the pilot Juan 
de la Cosa, who was with Columbus in his second 
voyage (1493-96); it has the advantage over the latter 
in having been made nearly a century later, and so con- 
tains the entire chain of islands, many of which had 
not been explored at the time when De la Cosa laid 
down his map in 1500. For the satisfaction of the 
reader, however, a reduction of that part of De la 
Cosa's map which shows these islands is here given. 
But while it is hoped that the identity of Guana- 
hani with Wathng's Island will be admitted to be 
authoritatively established by this comparison, it 
would be wanting in respect to those who have put 
forth other claims not to sliow, I will not say the 
ground on which these claims were advanced, but 
rather, for brevity's sake, the points at which their 
arguments fail. I adopt this plan on the principle that a 
chain is no stronger than its weakest link. Of all these 
I fear none occupies so disadvantageous a position as 
His Excellency Senhor de Varnhagen; for having un- 


fortunately adopted for his 'protegee an island (Maya- 
guana), which is represented together with the island 
of Guanahani both on De laCosa's and Herrera's maps, 
I regret to say that he seems to me to be ipso facto 
]3ut out of court, since no reasoning whatever could 
by any possibility make identical two islands so 
markedly distinct that several other islands are 
shown to lie between them. Washington Irving, in 
advocating Cat Island, or the island at present called 
St. Salvador, as the genuine Guanahani, adduces an 
examination of the route of Columbus by Com- 
mander Alexander Slidell Mackenzie of the U.S. 
navy, but which being principally addressed to the 
disproval of Navarrete's Turk's Island, fails to esta- 
blish Cat Island as the real landfall in contradis- 
tinction to Watling's Island. In examining this 
route I observe a starthng inaccuracy, which underhes 
the whole question. It is stated that Columbus de- 
scribes the island as very large. On referring to 
Columbus's logbook in Navarrete, I find it, on the 
contrary, called an "isleta," or islet, i.e. sma/Hsland, 
a term which could scarcely be applied to an island 
forty-two miles long and the loftiest of the Bahamas, 
which Cat Island is, whereas it would be correctly 
applied to Watling's Island, which is only twelve 
miles long, cut up by salt water lagoons, separated 
from each other by small woody hills. At the close, 
reference is made to the identity preserved to Cat 
Island as San Salvador with that given by Colum- 
bus, and a remonstrance against disturbing the 
ancient landmarks. But this is a petitio principii, 










inasmuch as at the period when the name of San 
Salvador was first continuously applied to Cat Island, 
viz., the middle of the seventeenth century, both 
map makers and sailors were possessed of no better 
materials, nor even so good, as ourselves, for coming 
to an accurate determination. Humboldt, in accept- 
ing the conclusions of Commander Mackenzie as 
adopted by Irving, thinks them confirmed by the 
map of Juan de la Cosa, of which I have given an 
extract. But here I would observe that the atten- 
tion of the illustrious philosopher was bent on the 
point to which Mackenzie's paper was directed, viz., 
the disproval of Turk's Island, and not to a dis- 
crimination between Cat Island and Watling's Island 
for the true landfall. A glance will show that the 
imperfectness of the Bahama group in Juan de la 
Cosa's map renders it perfectly inadequate for settlmg 
so minute a question. 

It is needless to dwell here upon the events 
which followed this discovery, as they are for the 
most part described in the letter here translated. 
The main result of the voyage was the discovery ot 
the islands of St. Salvador, Santa Maria de la Concep- 
ción, Exuma, Isabella, Cuba, Bohio, the Archipelago 
off the south coast of Cuba (which he names the 
Jardin del Bey, or King's Garden), the islands of 
St. Catherine and Hispaniola, on which latter Co- 
lumbus erected the fortress of La Navidad, and 
established a colony. Finally, on the 16th of January, 
he began to steer his course for Spain, and he was 
already near the Azores when, on tlie 12th February, 


the wind came on to blow violently, with a heavy sea, 
and on the following day a frightful tempest broke 
upon them, which obliged them to scud under bare 
poles. The storm continuing with unabated violence, 
on the night of the 14th of February the two caravels 
parted company, each following the course where the 
fury of the tempest drove them. The sailors, giving 
themselves up for lost, offered up prayers and vows; 
while the admiral, full of gloomy apprehensions that, 
after all, his discovery might turn to nought, and his 
two sons be left destitute, wrote upon parchment the 
account of the voyage, addressed it to the king of 
Spain, with a promise, written outside, of one thou- 
sand ducats to whomsoever would deliver it unopened. 
He then wrapped the packet up in waxed cloth, and 
put it into the middle of a cake of wax, and after 
inclosing it in a barrel well hooped and stopped up, 
he threw it into the sea. He also placed on the poop 
of his own vessel a similar barrel, with the same 
account enclosed, in order that if the ship went to 
the bottom the barrel might float, and the narra- 
tive be saved. During this period Columbus passed 
three days and nights without sleep, and with scanty 
and bad food, so that when, on the 1 8th, he arrived 
at St. Mary's, one of the Azores, he felt his limbs 
quite crippled with exposure to the cold and wet. 
There was a small chmxh there, in a solitary place, 
dedicated to the Virgin. Columbus, with the view 
of discharging the vows made during the storm, 
sent half of his people on shore to the church, but 
the Portuguese Governor of the island took them all 



prisoners, seized their boat, and would have attacked 
Cohimbus's own vessel, by orders, as he said, received 
from his court, but for the firmness with which the 
latter confronted him. Columbus mdignantly as- 
serted his own rank and office, showed his letters 
patent sealed with the royal seal, and threatened 
the Governor with the vengeance of the Castilian 
government. After a few days, during which Co- 
lumbus was driven from his anchorage and had to 
beat about in great danger, the Governor, who in 
the interval had thought better of the matter, 
liberated the prisoners and allowed the caravel to 
proceed on her course. The state of the weather 
was most terrible ; the sea ran mountains high; the 
lightnings rent the clouds, and the violence of the 
winds was such that the vessel was obliged to scud 
under bare poles, in which state she arrived, at last, 
in the Tagus, near Lisbon, on the 4th of March. 
Columbus immediately wrote a letter to the King of 
Portugal, then at Valparaiso, informing him that he 
was not come from Guinea but from the Indies, and 
requestmg protection for his caravel, and permission 
to bring it up to Lisbon. Not only was this granted, 
but Columbus was immediately invited to Valpa- 
raiso and was received by the monarch and his cour- 
tiers with the highest honours. There were not 
wanting, however, some who would gladly have slain 
him to prevent his going to Castile as the bearer of 
such great and glorious news. The magnanimity of 
the king prevented this injustice, and leaving Por- 
tugal in safety, on the 13th of March, Columbus 



arrived on the 15th at the Httle port of Palos, from 
whence he had sailed on the 3rd of August in the 
preceding year. Meanwhile Pinzón, the captain of 
the other caravel, who in the late storm had been 
driven into Galicia, wished to anticipate the admiral, 
but an express order from the court, forbidding him 
to come without Columbus, made him actually die 
of spite and chagrin. The reception of Columbus in 
Spain was such as the grandeur and dignity of his 
unrivalled achievement deserved, and his entrance 
into Barcelona was scarcely inferior to a Poman 
triumph. * 

* The followiiig remark by Mr. George Sumner was kindly 
supplied to me by that gentleman in 1847, as an interesting 
item connected with this period of the history of Columbus : — 

From the brilliant description given by Irving and Prescotfc 
of the arrival of Columbus at Barcelona, and of his reception 
there by the Catholic sovereigns, it seemed to me as probable 
that some contemporary account of this arrival and reception, as 
well as of the sojourn of Columbus, might be found at Barcelona ; 
and, while there in the spring of 1844, I searched the admirably 
arranged archives of Aragón, and also those of the city of Bar- 
celona, for such notice, but without any success. I could not so 
much as find a mention of the name of Columbus. 

The Dietaria, or day book, of Barcelona, notices the arrival of 
ambassadors, the movements of the king and queen, and even 
records incidents of as trifling note as those which in our day 
serve to fill the columns of a court journal ; yet not a word 
appears in regard to Columbus. 

How account for this silence ? Is it another evidence of the 
old feeling of jealousy between the Aragonese and Castilians, of 
which the student of Spanish history meets so many proofs ? 
Such was the opinion to which I was forced, and such I found 
also was the interpretation given to it by the intelhgent Arche- 
vcro, who had himself gone over this ground a few years since 
at the request of Navarrete. The voyage of Colambus was un- 


Very shortly after his arrival the papal bull was 
obtained, which fixed the famous line of demarca- 
tion, determining the right of the Spanish and Por- 
tuguese to discovered lands. This line was drawn 
from the north to the south pole, at a hundred leagues 
west of the Azores and Cape de Verde islands ; the 
discoveries to the westward were to belong to Spain, 
and those to the eastward to Portugal. 

The seductive adulation of the court and the people 
did not, however, divert the thoughts of Columbus 

dertaken at the expense and for the benefit of the crown of Cas- 
tile. It was not to Aragón, but to Castilla and Leon, that Colum- 
bus gave a new world, and as the Aragonese did not profit 
directly by this gift, they saw fit to treat it and its donor with 
scornful silence. 

In one of the notes to the great work of Capmany, — Memorias 
sobre la ciudad de Barcelona, 1789 — he gives a list of distinguished 
men who have enjoyed the hospitality of the city, and among 
them places the name of Columbus, making no allusion however 
to any contemporary account of his sojourn there. 

In the Dietoria of Barcelona, under date 15th N^ovember 1492, 
is the following entry : — " The king, queen, and primogénito, 
entered to-day the city, and lodged in the palace of the bishop 
of Urgil in the Calle Ancha." This is followed by a description 
of the festivities which followed. " 1493, 4th February. — King 
and queen went to Alserrat. 14th. — King and queen returned to 

As there appears no notice of the king having changed his 
abode after taking possession of the palace in the Calle Ancha, 
it was probably there that Columbus recounted to Isabella his 
adventures and his success. The American pilgrim may still, in 
the beautiful Alcazar of the Moorish kings, recall the figure of 
the discoverer of his land, standing in the presence of the Catholic 
sovereigns of Spain ; — in the cotton-spinning town of Barcelona 
the besom of modern improvement has long since swept away 
the palace of the bishop of Urgil. 



from the preparations for a second expedition. A 
stay of five months sufficed to make all ready for 
this purpose ; but these preparations gave rise to a 
malignant feeling towards him on the part of Juan 
Kodriguez Fonseca, Bishop of Badajos, which even- 
tually led to such disgraceful ill-usage of the admiral 
as will remain a stain upon the character of Spain 
while the name of Columbus exists in the memory 
of man. 

On the 25th September 1493, Columbus took his 
departure from Cadiz, with a fleet of three large 
ships of heavy burthen, and fourteen caravels, and 
after a pleasant voyage reached the island of Dominica 
on the 3rd of November. The letter of Dr. Chanca, 
here translated, gives an interesting description of a 
considerable portion of the events of this voyage, 
but it is to be regretted that his account terminates 
so abruptly, and the "memorial " of Columbus to the 
sovereigns adds but few incidents of moment to the 
narrative. We should be straming the necessary 
limits of a mere introduction to these translated 
documents, were we to undertake to lead the reader 
through the various history of this eventful period of 
the life of Columbus. Such a task has been rendered 
perfectly unnecessary by the much admired work of 
Washington Irving. Suffice it that we state, that 
the principal geographical information supplied by 
this voyage consists in the discovery of the Caribbee 
Islands, Jamaica, an Archipelago (named by Colum- 
bus the Queen's Gardens, supposed to be the Morant 
Keys), Evangelista, or the Isle of Pines ; and the 
island of Mona. 


He sailed with his fleet finally for Spain on the 
2Sth of April, 1496, and after nearly two months' 
struggle against the trade-winds (during which pro- 
visions became so reduced, that there was talk of kill- 
ing, and even eating the Indian prisoners), reached 
the bay of Cadiz on the 11th of June. The emaciated 
state of the crew when they disembarked, presenting 
so mournful a contrast with the joyous and triumphant 
appearance which they were expected to make, pro- 
duced a very discouraging impression upon the opi- 
nions of the public, and reflected a corresponding de- 
pression upon the spirits of Columbus himself. He 
was reassured, however, by the receipt of a gracious 
letter from the sovereigns inviting hhn to the court, 
which was the more gratifying to him that he had 
feared he had fallen into disgrace. He was received 
with distinguished favour, and had a verbal conces- 
sion of his request to be furnished with eight ships 
for a third voyage. He was doomed, however, to 
have his patience severely tried by the delay which 
occurred m the performance of this promise, which 
was partly attributable to the engrossing character of 
the public events of the day, and partly to the machi- 
nations of his inveterate enemy, the bishop Fonseca. 

It was not till the 30th of May 1498, that he set 
sail from San Lucar, with six of the eight vessels 
promised, the other two having been despatched to 
Hispaniola, with provisions, in the beginning of the 
year. When oft' Ferro he despatched three of his 
six vessels to the same island, with a store of fresh 
supplies for the colony, A\hik^ with his remaining three 


he steered for the Cape Verde Islands, which he 
reached on the 27th of June. On the 5th of July 
he left Boavista, and proceeded southward and west- 
ward. In the course of this voyage the crews suf- 
fered intensely from the heat, having at one time 
reached the fifth degree of north latitude, but at 
length land was descried on the 31st of July, — a 
most providential occurrence, as but one cask of 
water remained in the ship. The island they came 
to formed an addition to his discoveries ; and as the 
first land which appeared consisted of three moun- 
tains, united at their base, he christened the island, 
from the name of the Trinity, La Trinidad. It was 
in this voyage that he discovered terra firma,* and 
the islands of Margarita and Cubagua. His suppo- 
sition that Paria had formed the original abode of 
our first parents, is curiously described in our trans- 
lated letter ; and to a careful observer the sagacity 
of his mode of reasoning is perceptible even in a 
speculation so fanciful as this. On reaching His- 
paniola (to wdiich he was drawn by his anxiety on 
account of the infant colony), he had the mortification 
to find that his authority had suffered consideiable 
diminution, and that the colony was in a state of 
organized rebellion. He had scarcely, by his active 
and at the same time politic conduct, brought matters 
to a state of comparative tranquillity, when a new 
storm gathered round him from the quarter of the 
Spanish court. The hatred of his ancient enemies 

* It. is well known that Columbus was preceded in the disco- 
veiy of terra firma by John Cabot in 1497. 


availed itself of the clamour raised against him by 
some of the rebels who had recently returned to 
Spain, and charges of tyranny, cruelty, and ambition 
were heaped unsparingly upon him. The king and 
queen, wearied with reiterated complaints, at length 
resolved to send out a judge, to inquire into his con- 
duct, — injudiciously authorizing him to seize the 
governorship in the place of Columbus, should the 
accusations brought against him prove to be valid. 
The person chosen was Don Francisco de Bobadilla, 
whose character and qualifications for the office are 
best demonstrated by the fact, that, on the day after 
his arrival in Hispaniola, he seized upon the govern- 
ment before he had investigated the conduct of 
Columbus, who was then absent ; he also took up 
his residence in his house, and took possession of all 
his property, pubhc and private, even to his most 
secret papers. A summons to appear before the new 
governor was despatched to Columbus, who was at 
Fort Concepción ; and in the interval between the 
despatch of the summons and his arrival, his brother, 
Don Diego, was seized, thrown into irons, and con- 
fined on board of a caravel, without any reason being 
assigned for his imprisonment. No sooner did the 
admh"al himself arrive, than he likewise was put in 
chams, and thrown into confinement. The habitual 
reverence due to his venerable person and exalted 
character, made each bystander shrink from the task 
of fixing the fetters on him, till one of his own do- 
mestics, described by Las Casas as " a graceless and 
shameless cook," filled up the measure of ingratitude 


that he seemed doomed to experience, by rivetmg the 
irons, not merely with apathy, but with manifest 
alacrity. In this shackled condition he was conveyed, 
in the early part of October, from prison to the ship 
that was to convey him home; and when Andreas 
Martin, the master of the caravel, touched with re- 
spect for Columbus, and deeply moved at this unwor- 
thy treatment, proposed to take off his irons, he de- 
clined the offered benefit, with the following magna- 
nimous reply: "Since the king has commanded that I 
should obey his governor, he shall find me as obedient 
in this as I have been to all his other orders ; nothing 
but his command shall release me. If twelve years' 
hardship and fatigue; if continual dangers and fre- 
quent famine; if the ocean first opened, and five times 
passed and repassed, to add a new world, abounding 
with wealth, to the Spanish monarchy; and if an in- 
firm and premature old age, brought on by these ser- 
vices, deserve these chains as a reward, it is very fit 
I should wear them to Spain, and keep them by me as 
memorials to the end of my life." This in truth he 
did; for he always kept them hung on the walls of 
liis chamber, and desired that when he died they 
might be buried with him. 

His arrival in Spain in this painful and degraded 
condition produced so general a sensation of mdig- 
nation and astonishment, that a warm manifestation 
in his favour was the immediate consequence. A 
letter (here translated), written by him to Doña 
Juana de la Torre, a lady of the court, detailing the 
wrongs he had suñered, was road to queen Isabella, 


wliose generous mind was filled with sympathy and 
indignation at the recital. The sovereigns hastened 
to order him to be set at liberty, and ordered two 
thousand ducats to be advanced, for the purpose of 
bringing him to court with all distinction and an 
honourable retinue. His reception at the Alhambra 
was gracious and flattering in the highest degree; 
the strongest indignation was expressed against 
Bobadilla, with an assurance that he should be im- 
mediately dismissed from his command, while ample 
restitution and reward were promised to Columbus, 
and he had every sanction for indulging the fondest 
hopes of returning in honour and triumph to St. 
Domingo. But here a grievous disappointment 
awaited him; his re-appointment was postponed 
from time to time with various plausible excuses. 
Though Bobadilla was dismissed, it was deemed 
desirable to refill his place for two years, by some 
prudent and talented ofíicer, who should be able to 
put a stop to all remaining faction in the colony, 
and thus prepare the way for Columbus to enjoy the 
rights and dignities of his government both peace- 
fully and beneficially to the crown. The newly- 
selected governor was Nicolas de Ovando, who, 
though described by Las Casas as a man of pru- 
dence, justice, and humanity, certainly betrayed a 
want both of generosity and justice in his sub- 
sequent transactions with Columbus. It is possible 
that the delay manifested by the sovereigns in re- 
deeming their promise might have continued until 
the death of Columljus, had not a fresh stimulant to 


the cupidity of Ferdinand been suggested by a new 
project of discovering a strait, of the existence of 
which Columbus felt persuaded from his own obser- 
vations, and which would connect the New World 
which he had discovered with the wealthy shores of 
the east. His enthusiasm on the subject was height- 
ened by an emulous consideration of the recent 
achievements of Yasco da Gama and Cabral, the 
former of whom had, in 1497, found a maritime 
passage to India by the Cape, and the latter, in 
1500, had discovered for Portugal the vast and opu- 
lent empire of Brazil. The prospect of a more direct 
and safe route to India than that discovered by da 
Gama, at length gained for Columbus the accomplish- 
ment of his wish for another armament ; and, finally, 
on the 9th of May, 1502, he sailed from Cadiz on 
his fourth and last voyage of discovery. 

It is painful to contrast the splendour of the fleet 
with which Ovando left Spain to assume the govern- 
ment of Hispaniola, with the slender and inexpensive 
armament granted to Columbus for the purpose of ex- 
ploring an luiknown strait into an unknown ocean, 
the traversing of whose unmeasured breadth would 
complete the ch-cumnavigation of the globe. Ovando's 
fleet consisted of thirty sail, five of them from ninety 
to one hmidred and fifty tons burden, twenty-four 
caravels of from thirty to ninety tons, and one bark 
of twenty-five tons ; and the number of souls amounted 
to about two thousand five hundred. The heroic and 
injured man, to whose unparalleled combination of 
noble qualities, the very dignity which called for all 


this state was indebted for its existence, had now in 
the decline, of his years and strength, and stripped 
both of honour and emokiment, to venture forth 
with four caravels, — the largest of seventy, and the 
smallest of fifty tons burthen — accompanied by one 
hundred and fifty men, on one of the most toilsome 
and perilous enterprises of which the mind can form 
a conception. 

On the 20th of May he reached the Grand Canary, 
and starting from thence on the 25 th, took his 
departure for the west. Favoured by the trade 
winds, he made a gentle and easy passage, and 
reached one of the Caribbee Islands, called by the 
natives Matinino (Martinique), on the 15th of June. 
After staying three days at this island, he steered 
northwards, and touched at Dominica, and from 
thence directed his course, contrary to his own ori- 
ginal intention and the commands of the sovereigns, 
to St. Domingo. His reason was that his prin- 
cipal vessel sailed so ill as to delay the progress of 
the fleet, which he feared might be an obstacle to 
the safety and success of the enterprise, and he 
held this as a sufficient motive for infringing the 
orders he had received. On his arrival at San Do- 
mingo, he foimd the ships which had brought out 
Ovando ready to put to sea on their return to Spain. 
He immediately sent to the governor to explain that 
his intention in calling at the island was to procure 
a vessel in exchange for one of his caravels, which 
was very defective; and further begged permission 
for his squadron to take shelter in the harbour, from 


a hurricane, which, from his acquaintance with the 
prognostics of the weather, he had foreseen was 
rapidly approaching. This request was ungi-aciously 
refused; upon which Cohimbus, though denied shel- 
ter for himself, endeavoured to avert the danger of 
the fleet, which was about to sail, and sent back 
immediately to the governor to entreat that he would 
not allow it to put to sea for some days. His pre- 
dictions and requests were treated with equal con- 
tempt, and Columbus had not only to suffer these 
insulting refusals and the risk of life for himself and 
squadron, but the loud murmurings of his own crew 
that they had sailed with a commander whose po- 
sition exposed them to such treatment. All he could 
do was to draw his ships up as close as possible to 
the shore, and seek the securest anchorage that 
chance might present him with. Meanwhile the 
weather appeared fair and tranquil, and the fleet of 
Bobadilla put boldly out to sea. The predicted 
storm came on the next night with terrific fury, and 
all the ships belonging to the governor's fleet, with 
the exception of one, were either lost, or put back 
to San Domingo in a shattered condition. The only 
vessel that escaped was the one which had been 
freighted with some four thousand gold pieces, rescued 
from the pillage of Columbus's fortune. Bobadilla, 
Koldan, and a number of the most inveterate ene- 
mies of the admiral, perished in this tremendous 
hurricane, while his own fleet, though separated and 
considerably damaged by the storm, all arrived safe at 
last at Port Hermoso, on the south of San Domingo. 


He repaired his vessels at Port Hermoso, but had 
scarcely left the harbour before another storm drove 
him into Port Brazil, more to the westward. On the 
14th of July he left this port, steering for terra firma, 
and on the 30th discovered the small islandof Guanaga 
or Bonacca, a few leagues east of the bay of Honduras. 
He continued an eastern course, and discovered the 
cape now known as Cape Honduras. While moving 
along this coast, he experienced one of those frightful 
tempests to which the tropics are liable, and of which 
he gives so impressive a description in the letter we 
have translated. At length, after forty days' struggle 
to make as much as seventy leagues from the cape 
of Honduras, he reached a cape, by doubling which 
he found a direct southward course open, offering 
at the same time an unobstructed navigation and 
a favourable wind. To commemorate this sudden 
relief from toil and danger, Columbus named this 
point Cape Gracias a Dios, or "Thanks to God." A 
melancholy occurrence took place on the 1 6th of Sep- 
tember, while they were anchored off this coast. The 
boats had been sent up a large river to procure sup- 
plies of wood and water, when, on returning, the 
encounter of the sea with the rapid current of the 
river caused so violent and sudden a commotion, that 
one of the boats was swallowed up, and all on board 
perished. On the 25th of September he reached 
Cariay, or Cariari, where he stayed till the 5th of 
October. The next point was the Bay of Carumbaru, 
which was the first place on that coast where he met 
with specimens of pure gold. Leaving this bay on 


the 17th of October, he sailed along the coast of 
Veragua, and here he was informed by the Indians 
of the wealthy country of Ciguare, which he supposed 
to be some province belongmg to the Grand Khan, 
and also of a river ten days' journey beyond Ciguare, 
which he conceived to be the Ganges, On the 2nd 
of November he discovered Puerto Bello, in which 
harbour he was detained till the 9th by stormy 
weather; when, continuing his course eastward, he 
reached, near the eud of the month, a small harbour, to 
which he gave the name of El Retrete, or the Cabinet. 
It was here that a continuance of stormy weather, m 
addition to the murmurs of his crew at being com- 
pelled to prosecute an indefinite search, with worm- 
eaten ships, against opposing currents, determined 
Columbus on relinquishing his eastward voyage for 
the present, and to return in search of the gold mines 
of Veragua. But on altering his course to the west- 
ward, he had the mortification to find the wind for 
which he had long been wishing, come now, as if in 
direct opposition to his adopted course, and for nine 
days he was exposed to so terrible a storm that it was 
a marvel how his crazy vessels could outlive it. At 
length, after a month's anxiety and suffering, they 
anchored, on the day of the Epiphany, at the mouth 
of a river called by the natives Yebra, but which 
Columbus named Belem, or Bethlehem. Here a 
settlement was formed, and here occurred the sad 
disasters and conflicts with the natives, which he 
describes in his letter from Jamaica, and in which 
the faithful and zealous Diego Méndez proved an 


eminently efficient assistant to his much loved master. 
The history of this unhappy voyage, the toils and 
perils of which were aggravated to Columbus by ex- 
treme bodily suffering, closes by his reaching Jamaica, 
where he would in all probability have perished, but 
for the devotedness and activity of Méndez. The 
highly interesting description of that brave man's 
exploits on behalf of Columbus, has been quoted by 
Navarrete from his will, and is here translated. 
WheD at length, through the agency of Méndez, two 
ships arrived from Hispaniola to the assistance of the 
admiral, he was enabled, on the 28th of June, 1504, 
to leave his wrecked vessels behind him, and start 
with revived hopes for San Domingo, which he reached 
on the 13th of August. His sojourn there was not, 
as may be judged, calculated to afford him satisfaction 
or pleasure. The overstrained courtesy of the gover- 
nor offered but a poor alleviation to the rush of rank- 
ling feelings which the past associations and present 
desolation of the place summoned up to his mind. 

On the 12th of September he set sail for Spain, 
and the same tempestuous weather which had all along 
tended to make this his last voyage the most dis- 
astrous, did not forsake him now. The ship in which 
he came home sprung her mainmast in four places in 
one tempest, and in a subsequent storm the foremast 
was sprung, and finally, on the 7th of November, he 
arrived, in a vessel as shattered as his own broken 
and care-worn frame, in the welcome harborn- of San 

The two years which intervened between this 


period and his death present a picture of black in- 
gratitude on the part of the crown to this distin- 
guished benefactor of the kingdom, which it is truly 
painful to contemplate. We behold an extraordinary 
man, the discoverer of a second hemisphere, reduced 
by his very success to so low a state of poverty that, 
in his prematurely infirm old age, he is compelled to 
subsist by borrowing, and to plead, in the apologetic 
language of a culprit, for the rights of which the very 
sovereign whom he has benefited has deprived him. 
The death of the benignant and high-minded Isabella, 
in 1505, gave a finishing blow to his hope of obtaining 
redress, and we find him thus writing subsequently to 
this period to his old and faithful friend Diego de 
Deza: — "It appears that his majesty does not think 
fit to fulfil that which he, with the queen, who is now 
in glory, promised me by word and seal. For me to 
contend for the contrary, would be to contend with 
the wind. I have done all that I could do : I leave 
the rest to God, whom I have ever found propitious 
to me in my necessities." The selfish and cold- 
hearted Ferdinand beheld his illustrious and loyal 
servant sink, without relief, under bodily infirmity, 
and the palsying sickness of hope deferred; and at 
length, on the 20th of May 1506, the generous heart 
which had done so much without reward and suffered 
so much without upbraiding, found rest in a world 
where neither gratitude nor justice is either asked or 

His body was in the first instance buried at Valla- 
dolid, in the parish church of Santa Maria de la 


Antigua, but was transferred, in 1513, to the Cartuja 
de las Cuevas, near Seville, where a monument was 
erected over his grave with the memorable mscrip- 
tion, — 


In the year 153G, both his body, and that of his 
son Diego, who had been likewise buried in the 
Cartuja, were transported to St. Domingo, and de- 
posited in the cathedral of that city. From hence 
they were removed to Havannah m 1795, on the 
cession of Hispaniola to the French, and the ashes of 
the immortal discoverer now quietly repose in the 
cathedral church of that city.* 

* I am indebted to Mr. George Sumner for the following copy 
of the inscription on the tomb of Fernando Cohimbus, in the 
pavement of the cathedral of Seville, and for the note which 
accompanies it : — 

"Aqui yaze el M. Magnifico S. D. Hernando Colon, el qual 
aplicó y gastó toda su vida y hazienda en aumento de las letras, y 
juntar y perpetuar en esta ciudad todos sus libros de todas las 
ciencias, que en su tiempo halló y en reducirlo a quatro libros. 
Falleció en esta ciudad a 12 de Julio de 1539 de edad de 50 años 
9 meses y 14 dias, fue hijo del valeroso y memorable S. D. Christ. 
Colon primero Almirante que descubrió las Yndias y nuevo 
mundo en vida de los Cat. R. D. Fernando y D. Ysabel de glo- 
riosa memoria a 11 de Oct. de 1492 con tres galeras y 90 per- 
sonas, y partió del puerto de Palos a descubrirlas a 3 de Agosto 
antes, y Bolvió a Castilla con victoria a 7 de Maio del Año Sigui- 
ente y tornó después otras dos veces á poblar lo que descubrió. 
Falleció en Valladolid á 20 de Agosto de 1506 años. 


Beneath this is described, in a circle, a globe, presenting the 
western and pai't of the eastern hemispheres, surmounted by a 



But injustice, vmliappily, was not buried with Co- 
lumbus in the tomb. It was but one twelvemonth 
after his death that an attempt was made, and only 
too successfully, to name the new world which he 
had discovered, after another, who was not only his 
inferior, but his pupil in the school of maritime en- 
terprise. In an obscure corner of Lorraine, at the 
little cathedral town of St. Die, a cluster of learned 
priests, who had there established a printing-press 
under the auspices of Rene II, Duke of Lorraine, 
suggested to give to the newly discovered continent 
the name of the Florentine, Amerigo Vespucci, whose 
nautical career did not commence till after Columbus 
had returned from his second voyage to the western 
hemisphere. The first time that the name of Amerigo 
came into notice was in the year 1504, when Johann 
Ottmar pubhshed at Augsburg the Mundus Novus, 
a description of Vespucci's third voyage, now ex- 
tremely rare, embodied in a letter addressed by Ves- 

pair of compasses. Within the border of the circle is the same 
inscription as that which was placed over Columbus himself at 
the Cartuja, with the exception of the word "mundo" being 
placed before, instead of after, the word " nuevo". 

Throughout all Sjjain I know of no other inscription to the 
memory of Columbus. At Valladolid, where he died, and where 
his body lay for some years, there is none that I could discover, 
neither is there any trace of any at the Cartuja, near Seville, to 
which his body was afterwards transferred, and in which his 
brother was buried. 

It is a striking confirmation of the reproach of negligence, in 
regard to the memory of this great man, that in this solitaiy in- 
scription in old Spain, the date of his death should be inaccu- 
rately given. G. s. 


pucci himself to Lorenzo di Pier Francesco de' Me- 
dici. In this voyage, which occupied from May 
1501 to September 1502, he was in the service of 
Portugal, and explored the coasts of South America 
as far as beyond the fifty-second degree. But it was 
not tiU May, 1507, when Columbus had been a 
twelvemonth dead, that the world was informed of 
four voyages professed to have been made by Ves- 
pucci, of which the one just mentioned was only the 
thn-d, the two former liaving been made, as he states, 
in the service of Spain. As the first of these was 
asserted to have taken place between May 20th, 
1497, and October, 1499 [say 1498], and, if correct, 
would involve the discovery by him not only of the 
north coasts of South America, but a large extent of 
the coast of North America also, and that in priority 
of the claims both of Cabot and Columbus as regards 
the discovery of the American continent, it has been 
a matter of keen interest to many to examine mi- 
nutely the correctness of Vespucci's claim to having 
made this voyage. 

It would be out of place here to enter into the 
complicated arguments in which this question is in- 
volved ; but I have elsewhere shown* on how frail a 
tenure the claim in question is founded. In the 
same place I have also traced in detail the mode 
adopted for giving to the New World the name of 
Vespucci instead of that of Columbus, who, by the 
exercise of such transcendently superior qualities had 
earned for himself that honour. I will here sketch 

* See Life of Prince Henry the Navigator^ pp. B67 to 379. 



it in brief. Vespucci was an intimate friend of the 
Giocondi family, one of whom, the celebrated architect, 
Fra Giovanni Giocondi, who built the bridge of 
Notre Dame at Paris, was the translator into Latin of 
Vespucci's letter to Lorenzo di Pier Francesco de' 
Medici describing his third voyage. A young Alsatian, 
named Mathias Ringmann, who was at this time 
pursuing his studies in Paris, appears to have made 
the acquaintance of this Giocondi and to have car- 
ried back with him into Alsace an admiration for 
Vespucci and his achievements, which showed itself 
in his editing at Strasbourg in 1505, Giocondi's 
translation of Vespucci's letter, accompanied by some 
laudatory verses in Latin by himself Now in the 
neighbouring province of Lorraine, one of the canons 
of the cathedral at St. Die, Walter Lud, who was 
secretary to E-ené II, Duke of Lorraine, had already 
for many years established a gymnasium or college 
under the duke's auspices, and also a printing-press. 
Ringmann, better known in literature by the pseudo- 
nym of Philesius, became professor of Latin at the 
college and corrector of the press in the printing- 
office. On the 25th of April, 1507, a year after the 
death of Columbus, one of the members of this little 
clique, named Martin Waldseemliller, otherwise 
known as Hylacomylus, produced from this press a 
small work entitled Cosmograi^hicB Introductio, to 
which was appended a Latin translation of Ves- 
pucci's four voyages, as described by himself and ad- 
dressed to Duke Rene II, although it can be shown 
by the contents to have been really intended for 


Pietro Soderini, Gonfaloniere of Florence, who liad 
been Vespucci's schoolfellow. In my Lifo of Prince 
Henry the Navigator, I have ventured to suggest 
the process by which these letters, intended for ano- 
ther, came to be addressed to Duke Rene, and that 
suggestion supplies the. solution of some riddles, there 
treated of, which it would be out of place to speak of 
here. We have seen the connection of the Giocondi 
with Vespucci. We have seen, also, the connection of 
Ring-mann with the work of Fra Giovanni Giocondi 
and his interest in the glory of Vespucci. This interest 
he infuses into the little circle of St. Die, and we 
can imagine their pleasure at having the ojDportunity 
of blazoning forth to the world, from their own 
printing-press, a story which would throw so bright 
a reflection on the obscurity of their secluded valley. 
But in the little book thus issued, not only were 
printed for the first time four voyages of Vespucci, 
but also a suggestion was made that from his 
name, Amerigo, should be given the name of " Ame- 
rige" or '' America" to the newly-discovered western 
w^orld. In September of the same year, 1507, ap- 
peared a re-issue of the same book ; and in 1509 a 
new edition of it was issued from the printing-press 
of Joliann Griininger of Strasburg. In this same 
year, 1509, three years before the death of Vespucci, 
the name of America appears, as if it were already 
accepted as a well-known denomination, in an anony- 
mous work entitled Globus Mundi, printed also at 
Strasburg. But although this work is anonymous, 
it was my good fortune to detect from the colophon. 


ill which occur the words " Adelpho Castigatore," 
that the source of the suggestion of the name of 
America in the one case, and of the adoption of the 
suggestion in the other, are either identical or in close 
proximity, inasmuch as the already mentioned re-issue 
of the Cosmographice Tntroductio in 1509, has in the 
colophon, "Johanne Adelpho Mnlicho Argentinensi 
Castigatore." Now, Mulicho merely means native of 
Muhlingen, near Strasburg, and this Adelphus, so 
named, was a physician established in that city, and 
reviser of both the one work and the other. 

The first place in which we find the name of Ame- 
rica used a little further a-field, is in a letter dated 
Vienna, 1512, from Joachim Vadianus to Rudolphus 
Agrícola, and inserted in the Pomponius Mela of 
1518, edited by the former. The expression used is 
" America discovered by Yesputius."* But although 
this Vadianus, whose real name was Joachim Watt, 
writes from Vienna in 1512, I find that he was a 
native of St. Gall, whence in 1508, being then twenty- 
four years old, he went to the High School of Vienna. 
His learned disputations and verses gained him the 
chair of the professorship of the liberal arts at that 
school, and he subsequently studied medicine, of 
which faculty he obtained the doctorate. This attach- 
ment to the study of medicine recalls to my mind 
a fact which awakens a suspicion that he may have 
been a personal friend of John Adelphus, just referred 
to, and if so, of the little confraternity of St. Die. 
Before Adelphus established himself in Strasburg, he 

* " Americam a Vcspuccio repertam." 


had practised as a physician at Schaffhausen, and 
this at the time when Joachim Watt was a young 
man, still resident at St. Gall, which is distant from 
Schaffhausen seventy English miles, a distance w^hich 
would offer very little hindrance to Swiss intercom- 
munication. Whether this suspicion be worth any- 
thing or no, I advance it as a possible clue to yet 
further researches which may show the process by 
which this spurious appellation of America became 
adopted, through the efforts of a small cluster of men 
in an obscure corner of France. 

The earliest engraved map of the new world yet 
known as bearing the name of America, is a mappe- 
monde by Appianus, bearing the date of 1520, an- 
nexed to the edition by Gamers of the Polyhistoria 
of Julius Solinus {Viennce Austr.), 1520), and a 
second time to the edition of Pomponius Mela by 
Vadianus, prmted at Basle in 1522. The earliest 
manuscript map hitherto found bearing that name, is 
in a most precious collection of drawings by the hand 
of Leonardo da Vinci, now in Her Majesty's collec- 
tions at Windsor, to which, from an examination of 
its contents, I have assigned the date of 1513-14.* 

I liave thus endeavoured to unravel the intricate 
story of a great and irreparable injustice. No one 
can deny to Vespucci the credit of possessing cou- 
rage, perseverance, and a practical acquaintance with 
the art of navigation ; but he had never been the 
commander of an expedition, and had it not been 
for the great initiatory achievement of Golumbus, we 

* See ArcJueoloijia, vol. xl, 1866. 


have no reason to suppose that we should ever have 
heard his name. 

" To say the truth," as has been well remarked by 
the illustrious Baron von Humboldt, " Vespucci shone 
only by reflection from an age of glory. When com- 
pared w4th Columbus, Sebastian Cabot, Bartolomé 
Dias, and Da Gama, his place is an inferior one. 
The majesty of great memories seems concentrated 
in the name of Christopher Columbus. It is the 
originality of his vast idea, the largeness and fertility 
of his genius, and the courage which bore up against 
a long series of misfortunes, which have exalted the 
Admiral high above all his contemporaries." 

A tardy tribute has been at length paid to his 
memory by his fellow-citizens of Genoa, and the first 
stone of a monument in commemoration of his achieve- 
ments was laid in that city on the 27th of September, 
1846, and completed in 1862. There is now serious 
talk of his canonization. 

Among the many so-called portraits of Columbus, 
too numerous to be detailed here, but for elaborate 
notices of which the reader is referred to the works 
mentioned at foot,* there is not one that can be re- 
garded as unquestionably authentic. It w^as at the 

* Carderera (Valentin) : Informe sobre los retratos de Cristóbal 
Colon, su trage y escudo de Armas. Imprenta de la Real Aca- 
demia de la historia. Madrid. 1851. Small 4to. 

Feuillet de Conches (F). " Portraits de Christophe Colomb,"ex- 
trait delaRevue contemporaine, T. xxv, 95"^^ livraison in 8°, and in 
the" Revue Archéologique," an article by Mr. Isidore de Loewen- 
stei-n, on the Mémoires of MM. Jomard et Carderera respecting 
the portraits of Columbus. 


suggestion of my friend M. Ferdinand Denis, the 
distinguished Librarian of the Ste. Genevieve in 
Paris, that I have inserted as the frontispiece to this 
vokime a chromoHthograph fac-simile of the St, Chris- 
topher on the famous map of Juan de la Cosa, 
Columbus's pilot, made in 1500. My friend most 
reasonably suggests that, in this case, St. Christopher 
represented Christopher Columbus carrying the Chris- 
tian faith across the Atlantic, and that the face would 
be a portrait. In corroboration of his idea, I may 
quote the words of Herrera, whose possession of the 
Columbian documents enabled him to speak with 
accuracy. He says, " Columbus was tall of stature, 
with a long and imposing visage. His nose was 
aquiline ; his eyes blue ; his complexion clear, and 
having a tendency to a glowing red ; the beard and 
hair red in his youth, but his fatigues early turned 
them white." The cap and costume seem also less 
those of the saint than of the sailor. It is to my 
late revered and dear friend. His Excellency the 
Count de Lavradio, that I am indebted for procuring 
the coloured photograph from the original map on his 
visit to Madrid in 1869. The chromolithograph has 
been prepared in Berlin. 


composed by giuliano dati in 1493, 
[from Columbus's first letter,] 

And sung in Florence to announce the discovery of the New World. 


Omnipoteute idio, che tucto regge, 
donami gratia cliio possa cantare 
allaude tua & di tu sancta legge, 
cosa che piaccia achi stara ascoltare 
maxim al popol tuo & alia tua grege, 
el qua! no resta mai magnificare^ 
como al pséte ha fatto nella Spagna, 
delle isole tróvate cosa magna. 

lo ho gia lecto degli antichi regi 
& principi signori stanti in terra, 
del re della soria & facti egregi, 
& lebactaglie loro & la gran guerra, 
& delle giostre gli acquistati pregi 
di Bello lessi & selmio dir no erra, 
de persi, medi, & degli ateniensi, 
Dáfinione & gli altri egregi immési. 

Et de lacedemoni le grandi éntrate, 
di Labores di Oreste & daltri assai, 
del Principe Gisippo cose late, 
come si legge so che inteso Ihai, 
di Tholomeo piu cose smisurate, 
& del gran Faraone come saprai. 
di judici & de i'egi de giudei, 
che afaccia parlavano con lei. 


Et de latiui lessi, & degli albani, 
& di quel fiesolano Re Atalante, 
de regí & consolati de romaiii, 
& de tribuni lessi cose tante, 
dedeci viri electi tanti humani, 
& degli ímperadori potrei dir quáte 
cose chi tengo nel mió pecto fisse. 
p che sarian nel dir troppo plisse. 

che sio volesse tucti efacti dire 
disopra nominati & altri assai, 
certo farei latua mente stupire 
maximi alcuni clie u5 ludiron mai, 
qste cose alte degne magne et mire 
clie se tu leggi tu letroverrai 
iuvernacula lingua & i latino, 
si come narra un decto dagostino. 

Ma chi potessi leggere nel futuro 
duno Alexádro magno papa sexto, 
della sua creatione il modo puro, 
grato a ciascüo anessCí mai molesto, 
& del primanno suo il magno muro, 
che no glipuo nessuno esser infesto 
sesto alexádro pappa borgia ispano, 
justo nel giudicare & tucto humano. 

Et chi leggesi poi del sua Ferrado 
christianissimo rege xpiani 
che lisabella tiene al suo comádu, 
única sposa sua, che nelle mani 
tanti reami indota allui donando, 
gliha dati itendi ben co pesier sani, 
che glie re della spagna & di castella 
& di león lolecto villa bella. 


Simile re di cordube chiamato, 
& poi dimutia re mipar clie sia 
& digalitia re iucoronatOj 
dalgarbe re & tienla in sua balia, 
re digranata sai clie conquistato 
diragona signer & divalezia pia 
conté mipar che sia dibarzalona, 
& disicilia re isola buona. 

Di quata altura principe mipare 

& disardigna tien la signoria^ 
& di Corsica sifa simil chiamare, 
di qlla parte che glha in sua balia 
& conté di serdeina appellare, 
& dirosello conté par che sia 
simile re mi pare che dimaiorica, 
Faltro reame e poi della minorica. 

Et poi signer dibiscaia & molina, 
delalsesiras signor chiamato, 
dellasturias terra peregrina, 
p tucto il mondo qsto e nominato, 
tucto fedele della legge divina, 
chi altro crede e mal dallui trattato 
come sivede che nó e mai satio, 
dimarrani giudei far ogni stratio. 

Pero il signore Iha semp ívicto facto, 
che si puo uno agusto nominare, 
ogni sua lega triegua legge o pacto, 
mai no sividde dallui maculare 
lui n5 derise mai savio ne macto 
limosine per dio sempre fa fare 
della chiesa zeloso a tucte Ihore 
come fcdel, xpiano, & pió signore. 


Come mostra lamagna ábascieria, 
clie gllia mandato acTar lubidieza 
al suo sesto Alexadro auima pia 
clie mai sivide tal magnificenza 
iu tucte cose la sua signoria 
dimóstvá aver fra gli altri grá poteza 
I qsti magni abascidor sispechi 
chi nol credessi nocti psti oreccbi. 

Se io volessi e sua titoli dire, 
o auditore io ti potrei tediare, 
de sua reame io ti farei stupií-e, 
sol que che lisabelela volse dare 
indota a qsto Ke o questo sire, 
quando luso p marito pigliare 
qsta isabella e dispagna Eegina, 
honesta doña savia & peregrina. 

Hor vo tornar almio primo tractate 
dellisole tróvate incógnito a te 
in qsto anno presente qsto e stato 
nel millequatrocento novátatre, 
uno che xpofan colobo chiamato, 
che e stato in corte del prefato Ee 
ha molte volte questo stimolato, 
el Re ch'cerchi acrescere il suo stato. 

Dicendo, signer mió, io vo cercare 
p che comprédo che ce molta terra 
che nostri antichi no seppo trovare 
& spero dacquistarle senza guerra, 
se vostra signoria si vuol degnare 
ajuto darmi che so que non erra 
lamente mia spera nel signore 
chirabrieve cidara renoro & houore. 


Voi raectete la roba io la persona 
non sara vostra signoria disfacta, 
ispesse volte la fortuna dona 
p picol prezo assai & non e macta 
che sua speraza tucto il modo sprona 
savio e colui che dicercar sadacta 
p che dice elvagelio I legge nuova 
che chicercado va spesso truova. 

H5 poi cli' lebbe ilre piu volte udito 
& facto carisposta sorridendo 
xpofano ripigliando come ardito 
qsto ano il re secodo ch' io copredo 
prese di dargli aiuto per partito 
& disse il tuo sperai-e oggi comedo 
piglia una nave co due carovelle 
di qste mie ármate le piu belle. 

Et comado de poi che gli sia dato 
danari & roba ql che fa mestiero, 
& poi dimolta géte acompagnato 
divotamente & co buo pensiero, 
al sommo dio che fu racomandato^ 
& alia madre sua & sancto piero, 
& prese qste cose, & poi licentia 
dalre & laregina & sua dementia 

Et navico piu giorni per perduto, 
CO pena, con affanni & grade stento, 
pensa che ua in mare no e mai tuto, 
ma semp cobactedo í acqua & ueto 
pdesi spesso elguadagno eltrebuto, 
& nogli gioua dire io menepento 
ma come piacq^ adio ch' mai noerra 
in trentatre giornate pose in terra. 


Et messe dua desua huomini armati 
a cercar pie terre che lian trouate^ 
seforce siscoprissin qualclie aguati, 
ma caminaron ben per tre giornate 
clie nosi furon mai iadrieto uolti, 
& no tronaron mai uille o brigate, 
si che simarauiglia che camina 
& pin chi e restate alia marina. 

Ma niéte di manco qnella terra 
era di uari fructi molto ornata, 
se chi ha scripto i qua neldir noerra, 
motagne e ue daltura ismisurata, 
& molti fiumi lacircüda & serra, 
doue trouorun poi molta bingata, 
séza páni, uestite, o arme^ o scudi 
ma tucti emébri loro si erano nudi. 

Saluo chalcuna donua che coperte 
tiene leparte genitale immonde, 
CO bambagia tessuta, & di po certe 
Ihauen coperte con diuerse frode, 
& come uidon questi lediserte 
forte fuggendo ciascun fina scode, 
& questi dua in drieto si tornauano, 
& axpofano lo facto racontauano. 

Et xpofano & glialtri dismontati 
armati tucti il paese cercando 
isole molte & huomini trouati 
come tu intenderai qui ascoltando 
& glistendardi del Re ha rizati, 
& a ciascuno il suo nome mutando, 
come dirá questa pistola magna, 
da xpofano scripta al Re di spagna. 


Percliio so^ signor mio^ ch' gm piacer 
hara la uostra magna signoria 
quando potra intendere o sapere, 
delle cose clie io presi in mia balia, 
p uirtu del signore & suo potere, 
& simil della madre sua maria, 
dal partir mio a trétatre giornate, 
molte isole & gra géte iho trouate, 

Lisola prima cliio trouai, signore, 
io Iho p nome facta nominare 
isola magna di san Saluadore, 
& la seconda poi feci cMamare 
conceptio Marie a suo honore, 
di poi laterza feci baptezare 
per uostra signoria cli' tato ornata 
isola ferrandina llio nominata, 

Et la quarta Isabella fo chiamare, 
p la Regina che tanto Honorata, 
& alia quinta il nome uolsi dare 
che lisola Giouanna fia cliiamata, 
& la festa dun nome uolsi ornare 
che cogruo miparse a qlla fiata, 
che Laspagnuola qlla sichiamasse, 
per che mipar che cosi meritasse. 

Enomi son dellisole trouate 
nel india, signor mio, como uiscriuo, 
& questa & laltre sopra nominate 
notitia auoi nedo signor mio diuo 
treceto uctun miglio ho caminate, 
& peruenuto alfin colsancto uliuo 
dalla giouana alia spagnuola elmar 
ciquataquattro miglia largo apare. 


Bt per septentrione lanauicai 
cinquantaquattro miglia dimarina, 
doue clie alia spagna io arriuai, 
inuerso loríente sauicinaj 
& per lalinea recta io caminal 
da onde la spagnuola li confina 
son ciquecesessantaquattro miglia, 
e lalargheza che qsta isola piglia. 

Et qsta & tucte laltre e molto forte, 
ma qsta sopra laltre par fortissima, 
potresi inanzi dare a tucte morte 
ch' una parte sacquisti piccolissima, 
certo questo eildestino qsto e lesorte, 
ch' uostra signoria fan felicissima, 
6 dotata di fructi molte & uarie, 
& liti, & porti, & cose necessarie, 

Et molti fiumi, & máxime motagne, 
che son dalteza molto smisurate, 
arbori, fonte, uccegli, & cose magna, 
chauostri tempi no san mai trouate, 
certo lamente mia signor ne piagne, 
per lalegreza delle cose ornate, 
di tucte cose cie se io non erro, 
saluo ch' nosi truoua acciaio o ferro. 

Sonci di septe o uer docto ragioni 
di palme che mifan marauigliare, 
& se alzando gliocchi poni 
pini uison che laria par toccare, 
passere lusignuoli & altri doni, 
che nonsi potre mai tucto narrare, 
della bambagia un pondo ce infinito 
& daltre cose assai ce inquesto lito. 


Arbori cison duna ragion fioriti 
del mese di novembre cbenoi siano 
come i ispagna, & ne suo degno liti, 
liarberi so elmagio^ elmote^ elpiano, 
si che no altri stiano tucti stupiti 
p labodantia che trouata habbiano, 
sonci gli arberi uerdi & and lelor foghe, 
chi credo che no pda mai lespoglie. 

Di reubarbaro ce tanta abodantia, 
& dicenamo daltra spetieria, 
loro & largento, el metallo ciauaza, 
máxime un fiume che per qsta uia, 
che no puo questa terra fame senza, 
doue ho trouato co mia fantasia, 
che dimoltoro e piena quella rena, 
sicome lacqua di quel fiume mena. 

Simil, siguore, io uiuoglio anisare, 
che inqstisola ce molta pianura, 
doue difizi moiti sipuon fare, 
& castelle cipta co magne mura, 
che no bisogna poi di dubitare, 
ne dhauer chi cista nulla paura, 
molte terre cison da feminare, 
& depascer lebestie & nutricare. 

Ho po trouati certi fiumicelli, 
ch' tucti m enano oro & no gia poco, 
& molti porti griidi & da far belli, 
che abodanza ce dacqua diloco, 
Iherbe & leselue facte co pennelli 
no son si belle & no cisusa foco, 
glhuomini sono afíabile formati, 
timidi semp & alfuggir parati. 


Sonci assai uille ma son picoolecte, 
dhuomini & done son tucte cálcate, 
glihabitacoli qui son capanecte 
semplici sonó & crédula brigate, 
& ben che sien o nudi stáno necte, 
si cite signer dibuona uoglia state, 
& credon che no siá di cielo I terra, 
madati per capargli dogni guerra. 

Portano alcun certe cáne appuntate, 
socto lebraccia come noi lespade, 
archi co frecce dicanne tagliate, 
& uiino isieme assai come lesquadí 
di capegli & di barbe mol to ornate, 
no son micidial persone o ladre, 
ma tucto ql ch^ glhiáno I lor potere 
celodarebbon p farci piacere. 

Et parmi che cifia grá diferenza 
da questa isola a qlla di Giouána 
darbori, fructi, and dherbe & dipséza, 
noci manca senon la sancta mana, 
doro ce tanto cha nostra potenza 
chi guerra far sipensa I uan safána 
oltre alia roba acquistate Ihonore. 
tucti son proti acreder al signore. 

Questi popoli grádi & infiniti, 
come p segni ciáno dimostrato, 
ledone & lor figluoli & lor mariti 
ciascuno spera desser baptezato, 
priego il signer iesu che puo glíuiti 
apossedere el suo regno beato 
di quáto ben cagion signer sarete 
coluostro auxilio che dato mhauete. 



Ilio menati qui certi indiani 
ch.' cüprédá di qsta alcnn liguaggio 
tal clie parlando con ceni dimani 
qlcQ diqsti cli'e piu sperto & saggio 
dicon di farsi a noi tucti xpiani 
tal chillo pso signor mio uataggio 
& di legname una bastia fo fare 
& ] agente uimecto per guardare. 

Et forniti glilascio per uno anno 
darme diuectouaglia ben clii spero 
clie no liaranno molestia ne dano 
p clie gli lascio c5 un buon pensiero, 
liuniili mansneti tucti stanno, 
sicli^ auxilio iluostro signor cliiero^ 
mandimi uostra signoria plácente 
allaude del signore omnipotente. 

Clii no uede signor lisole degne, 
& lericlieze o nobil creatura, 
& lauarieta darbori & legne, 
& deglliuomini & done lor figura, 
no sa cV sia delmodo lesue I segne, 
clii no esce delcercliio di sua mura, 
no puo perfectamente idio laudare 
clii no gusta lecose clie sa fare. 

Signor mio dolce, lapiaceuoleza 
di qsta gente io non saprei narrare, 
per una stringa clie poco sipreza 
uolson tanto oro aun diquesti dare 
cli' tre ducati & mezo o che richeza 
liare potuto inqueste parte fare, 
ma io ho comádato alia mía gente 
che ciascun doni & no pigli niéte. 


T*cr far lor grata uostra signoria 
dimolta roba io lio facto donare 
di quella dimie gente & della mia, 
come scodelle & piacti damagiare, 
& uetri & pauni chera in mia balia^ 
senza riserbo alcuno per me fare 
p cilio glho conosciuti tante grati, 
igllio come fedeli & buo tractati. 

Vero e ch' sono assai proti alfugire 
per che non sono usati di uedere 
gente che usin panni da uestire, 
ma per che uegan noi tucto sapere, 
ciascun diloro ciadora come sire, 
& lalor roba da mangiare o bere, 
no ho ueduto fare ne tuo ne mio, 
ma lauita comune alparer mio. 

Volsano ancora p una bocte trista, 
& per un pezo darco che no uale, 
tre once doro darmi & similmista, 
tanta bambagia che mezo quíntale, 
ma poi chi hebbi questa cosa uista 
parsemi dipigliar niente male, 
& ho comesso aciaschedun de mia 
chedipigliare niente ardito sia. 

No e fra loro alcuna briga o secta, 
ma pacifici tucti iusieme stanno, 
di parole & ni facti mai saspecta, 
di far uedecta alcüa Tgiuria o daño, 
beato a qllo che seguir sidilecta, 
acompagnati abrácelo semp uáno, 
io glho uisti si buoni recti & grati, 
che abuo hue idio glhara chiamati. 


No e fra loro idolatría nessuna, 
tucti lemani al ciel tengono álzate, 
no adoran pianeti, o sole, o luna, 
ma lelor mente al ciel tucte leuate. 
dicon la gloria i ciel esser sol una, 
dellaqual patria credon ch' madate 
lenostre barche siano & noi i terra, 
a far pace colciel dogni lor guerra. 

lo nho co meco semp alcü menato 
equali feci per forza pigliare, 
qndo alpricipio i terra fui smotato, 
non potendo inaltra forma fare 
pelueloce fuggir mai ascoltato 
no era lemie uoci olmio parlare, 
& qsti che per forza allhor pigliai, 
son per amor uenuti sempre mai. 

Semp mangiare, o bere, & adormiré, 
acanto a me io glho si ben tractati, 
ch' gliaferman p certo & usan dire 
ch' dalregno del ciel no sia madati, 
uanocci inanzi gridando uenire, 
debba ciascuno auedere ebeati, 
si chalpresente ognü corre auedero 
& portan tucti damagiare & bere. 

Da luna isola allaltra qsti nano 
co certe barche che inqvTcsta isola o, 
lequal dun legno solo facte stanno, 
& son chiamate queste canoe, 
so lüghe strecte & par quasi uolado 
andaré achiunche messo détro ce, 
bench^ sien grossamente lauorate 
co sassi & legni & ossi son cauate. 


Et hone uista alcuua tato grade 
che octanta persone cista dentro, 
& ciascño hal suo remo & leumade 
nauica qsti & con buon sétimeto 
la roba luno allaltro li sispaude 
ql chio uscriuo signer nulla meto 
& uanno baractando tucti quati 
come sefussin quasi mei'catanti. 

Inqueste isole tucte nominate 
no ho ueduta nulla difFerenza 
dincarnati diuisi o dibrigate, 
ma tucti quasi son duna presenza 
& dun costume tucti costumate 
huomini & done so pie dicremeza^ 
tucti háno una loquela & un pai-lar 
che uifare^ signor, marauigliare. 

Che par che útil cosa questa sia 
acouerrirgli a nostra sancta fede. 
che come scriuo auostra signoria 
ciascun disposto ce, & gia lacrede 
dique che han uista lapresenza mia 
no glho tucti ueduti de siuede 
ch'glie margior giouana senza sotia 
che noe linghilterra con lascotia. 

Son duo puincie chio no ho córtate, 
secondo che qsti altri decto hano, 
una cene la qual queste brigate 
dican che quelle gente che uistáno 
son con le code tucte quante nate 
& Anaan elnome posto lehanno, 
poi caminal p la spagnuola ciglia 
p cinquccésessantoquattro miglia. 


Doue e lanilla laqual io pigliai, 
done io feci larocca o uer bastia 
che la piu bella clie io uedessi mai, 
come iho scripto a nostra signoria 
non miricorda se adir nimandai 
inquesta brieue epistolecta mia 
elnóe cli' io Iho posto & forse anisto 
natiuita del nostro lesns XSo. 

In queste isole tucti questi stauo 
contenti duna dona ciascheduno, 
ma qsti principali tucti mhanno 
ueti leqnal son date lor per uno, 
& luno allaltro mai torto no fanno, 
che a cio far n5 ce pronto nessuno, 
& nelle cose tucte da mangiare 
nulla diuision uiueggo fare. 

Et ben che i qste parti caldo sia, 
lastate eluerno ce digran freddura, 
ma p che niangiá molta spetieria 
lacarne loro alfreddo molto dui^a 
inquesta parte nulla cosa ria, 
sitruoua diche questi habbin paura, 
saluo che ce unisola allentrare 
dellindia per uoler qui arriuare. 

In nella quale sta gente uillana 
da qsti no mipar che siano amati, 
p ch^ dice magia carne humana_, 
pero no son da questi qui prezati, 
hanno assai legni qsta gente strana, 
da nauicare & hanno gia rubati, 
aquesti di scorrendo dogni banna 
CO archi T mano & co frecce dicana. 


Non e da qsti a quegli ditferenza^ 
seno innecapegli clie qgli hanno 
lunglii come ledone & dipresenza 
son come qsti & fano molto dano, 
aqste ch' son ppro essa clemenza, 
si che ingelosia sempre nestanno, 
ma spero clie lauostra signoria 
sapra purgare una tal maltaia. 

Una isola cie decta mactanino, 
nella qual le donne sole stanno, 
& questo iniquo popol glie uicino, 
& ausar con qste spesso uanno, 
ma qsto popol tucto feminino 
exercitio di done mai no fanno, 
ma CO gliarchi trahedo tuctauia, 
che par per certo una grá fantasia. 

Et uanno queste ben tucte coperte, 
no gia di páni lini, o lani, o ueli, 
ma derbe & giiichi, & qste cose certe 
son che di qua nqe lezuoli o teli 
unaltra isola poi legente offerte^ 
femine & maschi nasc5 senza peli, 
manzi uoglia cdfuso esser nel dire 
chi uoglia alcuna cosa preteriré. 

Et dove qsti senza peli sono, 
pill oro cie chihabbia acor trouata 
di ql chi scriuo o parlando ragiouo^ 
signore, io ne son ben giustificato 
auostra signoria un magno dono 
iho per portar meco prepárate 
di tucti qsti luoghi iuo menare 
gente che possin ció testificare. 


Pero, giusto signor_, di Spagna degno, 
stia uostra signoria dibuona uoglia 
chlho cresciuto tato iluostro regno, 
ch' chi ua luida po crepar didoglia 
doro & dargento passarete el segno 
tel ch' trarra elnimico di sua soglia, 
ma ql chi so ch' molto piu prezate 
son queste gete a xpo prepárate. 

Reubarbero assai & aloe, 
Mastice, cinaniono, & spetierie, 
tanta richeza, signer mio, qui e 
che discaccia da me leuoghe rie, 
piu allegreza, signer mio, fare, 
si fussi certo che per tucte uie 
qsta scripta uenissi asaluamento 
nel modo no sare huom piu-coteto. 

No miacascaltro degno mio signore 
scriuere auostra magna signoria, 
raccomandomi a qlla a tucte Ihore, 
laqual coserui ilfigluol di Maria 
parato sempmai per uostro am ore 
amecter qsta breue uita mia 
aquindici de febraio qsta sife 
nel mille quattrocento nouata tre. 

Magnifici & discreti circiistanti 
qsta e gran cosa certo da pensare, 
ch'l nostro redcptor co tucti esancti 
no resta mai legratie sue mandare 
douerebbon di qsto tucti quanti 
ebaptizati a xpo festa fare, 
chi vie chi uimudo & chi ue andato 
prepari dio alsuo regno beato. 


Questa ha coposto de dati Giuliano 
apreghiera del magno caualiere 
messer Giouanphilippo ciciliano,, 
clic fu di Sixto quarto suo scudiere 
& commessario suo & capitano^ 
a qlle cose clie fur di mestiere 
allaude del signor sicanta & dice 
che ciconduca al suo re^no felice. 


^ Finita lastoria della iuétione delle nuoue isolo dicünaria 

idiane tráete duna pistola dixpofano colobo^ & pmesser 

Giuliano dati tradocta dilatino i uersi uulgari allaude 

della Christiana religione & apghiera delmagnifico 

caualiere messer Giouafilippo del iguamine 

domestico familiare dello illustrissimo 

Redispagna xpianissimo a 

di. xxvi. doctobre. 




In this bibliographical notice I do not propose to 
deal with any editions of the first letter of Columbus 
beyond the " Incunabula," which I arrange in the 
order of then" publication, as ascertained from an 
examination of the documents themselves. 

1. ^ Epístola Christofori Colom : cui etas nostra multii 
debet : de | Insulis Indie supra Gangem nuper inuetis. Ad 
quas perq^ren- | das octauo antea mense auspiciis & ere in- 
victissimor' Fernádi & | Helisabet Hispaniar' EegG missus 
fuerat : ad magnificum dñm | Gabrielem Sanchis eorunde 
serenissimor' Regum Tesaurariü | missa : quii nobilis ac 
litteratus vir Leander de Cosco ab Hispa | no ideomate in 
latinum couertit tertio kal's Maii m.cccc.xciii | Pontificatus 
Alexandri Sexti Anno primo. 

Small 4 to. This edition, which, as I shall presently 
show, is the editio princeps, was printed by Stephen 
Plannck at Pome in 1493. It consists of four leaves, 
printed in gothic type, and has 33 lines in a full page. 
Copies are in the Grenville and King's Libraries in 
the British Museum. 

2. ^ Epistola Christofori Colom: cui etas nostra multum 
debet : de | Insulis Indie supra Gangem nuper inuetis. Ad 
quas perquiren | das octauo antea mense auspiciis & ei^e 
inuictissiraorum Fernandi | ac Helisabet Hispaniar' Regu 
missus fuerat : ad MagnificQ dñm | Gabrielem Sanches : 
eorundem serenissimorum Regum Tesau j rariii missa : Qua 
gcuerosus ac litteratus vir Leander de Cosco ab ¡ Hispano 


idiomate in latinfi couertit : tertio Kalen' Maij M.cccc. | 
xc.iij. Pontificatus Alexandri Sexti Anno Primo. | 4to. 

End : — ^ Irapressit Rome Eucliarius Argenteus [Silber] 
Anno dñi. M.ccccxciij. 

Three leaves, printed in gotliic letter. 40 lines in 
a page. A copy is in the Grenville Library. 

3. ^ Epistola Christofoi-i Colom : cui etas nostra multu 
debet : de | Insulis Indie supra Gangem nuper inuentis. Ad 
quas perqui [ rendas octano antea mensa auspicijs & ere 
invictissimi Fernán | di Hispaniarum Regis missus fuerat : 
ad Maguificum dñum Ra ¡ phaelem Sanxis : eiusdem sere- 
nissimi Regis Tesaurariü missa : ] quam nobilis ac litteratus 
vir Aliander de Cosco ab Hispano | ideomate in latinum 
conuertit : tertio kal's Maij. M.ccccxciij. | Pontificatus 
Alexandri Sexti Anno Primo. 

Small 4to. Gothic letter ; four leaves, 34 lines in 
a full page. This edition is supposed to have been 
printed by Stephen Plannck at Rome, about 1493. 
3 or 4 copies are known ; two are in the General 
Library and Grenville Library, British Museum. 

4. De Insulis inuentis ¡ Epistola Cristoferi Colom (cui etas 
nostra | multu debet : de Insulis in mari Indico nup' | 
inuetis. Ad quas perquirendas octano antea ( mense : aus- 
picijs et ere Invictissimi Fernandi | Hispaniarum Regis 
missus fuerat ¡ ad Magnificum dñm Raphaele5 Sanxis : 
eiusde sere [ nissimi Regis ThesaurariQ missa. quam 
nobi I lis ac litterat^ vir Aliander á Cosco : ab His | pano 
ydeomate in latin Q conuertit : tercio k'ls | Maij. M.ccccxciij. 
Pontificatus Alexandri j Sexti Anno Primo. 

Small 8vo. Gothic character; ten leaves, 26 and 27 

lines in a page. The title above given is preceded 

by a leaf bearing on the recto the arms of Spain, 

"Regnü hyspanie" — on the verso the cut of the 

" Oceánica Classis". There are 6 woodcuts — the 


" Oceánica Classis", being repeated. A copy is in 
the Grenville Library. 

5. Epístola de insulis de | nouo repertis. Impressa | 
parisius in capo gaillardi. 

Small 4to. Gothic letter; four leaves, 39 lines in a 
full page. This edition was printed by Guy Marchan d 
about 1494. Brunet states that the only copy known 
is that formerly belonging to M. Ternaux-Compans, 
now the property of Mr. John Carter Brown. 

This edition was reprinted in 1865, " Lettre de 
Christophe Colomb sur la découverte du Nouveau- 
Monde, publiée d'aprés la rarissime version latine 
conservée a la Bibliothéque Impériale. Traduite en 
Francais, commentée et enrichie de notes puisées aux 
sources originales par Lucien de E,osny. 8vo., Paris, 

6. Epístola de Insulís nouí | ter repartís. Impressa 
parisius In campo gaillardi. 

Small 4to. Gothic letter; four leaves, 39 lines in a 
page. The above title is in two lines, the first printed 
in a larger character. Underneath is the device of the 
printer, " Guiot Marchan t" — two cobblers at work, 
one cutting the leather, the other making it up. 
This edition was printed by Guy Marchand at Paris, 
about 1494. 

A copy is in the Bodleian Library. A facsimile 
made by Mr. John Harris, sen., is in the British 
Museum ; the impression was limited to five copies. 

All the foregoing editions have at the end the 
Latin Epigram in eight verses of R. L. de Corbatia, 
(a pseudonym for Leonardua de Carninis, Bishop 


of Monte Peloso in Naples). In this edition, be- 
low the epigram, on the same page, is a woodcut 
of the Angel appearing to the Shepherds. Mr. 
Lenox has given a facsimile of this in the Appendix 
to Syllacius. The title on the recto of the following 
leaf (sig. a, ij) is the same as in the Roman editions, 
having the name of Ferdinand without that of 
Isabella. It ends with the words : " Vale. Ulisbone 
pridie Idus Marcij." 

A "pictorial" edition of the Latin letter, in 4to., 
was 23i"inted in 1494. It is appended to a work by 
CarolusVerardus, "In laudem Serenissimi Ferdinandi 

Hispaniar' regis Et de Insulis in mari Indico nuper 


The work is printed on fifteen pages in Roman cha- 
racters, and probably at Basle, by B. de Olpe. The 
woodcuts are the same as those used in the small 
8vo. edition printed about 1493 (see No. 4). 

No sooner did this letter make its appearance in 
print in the year 1493, than the narrative it con- 
tained was put forth in Italian ottava rima by Giu- 
liano Dati, one of the most popular poets of the day ; 
and there is reason to believe that it was sung about 
the streets to announce to the Italians the astounding 
news of the discovery of a new world. (See ante, p. xc.) 

The only copy of this curious and valuable poem 
known at the time of the issue of the first edition of 
this work in 1847 is that which I now reprint. 

*\ La lettera dellisole che ha trouato nuovamente il Re 


^ Finita lastoria della iuetione del ¡ le nuoue isole dicil- 
naria idiane trac | te duna pistola dixpofano colobo & | 
pmesser Giuliano dati tradocta di la | tino i uersi uulgari 
allaude della ce ¡ lestiale corte & aconsolatioue della ] 
Christiana religione & apghiera del magnifico caualiere 
messer Giouii | filippo del ignamine domestico fa | mlliare 
dello illustrissimo Re dispa | gna xpianissimo a di. xxvi. 
docto I bre. 14.93. Florentie. 

4to. Printed in Roman characters on four leaves, in 
double columns. The poem consists of 68 stanzas in 
ottava rima. Beneath the single-line title is a wood- 
cut representing the landing of Columbus, and King 
Ferdinand seated on his throne on the opposite shore. 
This is the only copy known. 

Since 1847 another edition has been acquired by 
the British Museum, bearing the following title : — 

^ Questa e la liystoria della inuentioe delle diese Isole 
di Cannaria In | diane extracte duna Epístola di Chris- 
tofano Colombo & per messer Giu | liano Dati traducta 
de latino in uersi uulgari a laude e gloria della cele | 
stiale corte & a cousolatione della Christiana religioe & 
apreghiera del ma | gnifico Caualier miser Giouanfilippo 
Delignamine domestico familia | re dello Sacratissimo Re 
di spagna Christianissimo a di. xxv. doctobre. | 
M.cccclxxxxiii. I 

End : Finis 

Joannes dictus Florentinus. 

4to. Printed in gothic characters, in double 
columns, and, without doubt, at Florence. A com- 
plete copy should contain four leaves. The copy in 
the British Museum, the only one of this edition 
hitherto discovered, is, unfortunately, deficient in two 
leaves — viz., the second and the third. It is printed 


in a very rude type on coarse paper, and was evi- 
dently a popular edition, sold at a very small price. 
This edition presents many variations from the other, 
both in the orthography and language ; e.g., the 
opening stanza, which may be compared with that 
given in the present edition. 

LOipotente idio ch^l tulto regge 
mi presti gfa chi possa cantare 
allaude sua e di sua sancta legge 
cosa che piaza achi stara ascoltare 
máxime alpopul suo & a sua gregge 
elqual non cessa mai magnificare 
come al presente afacto nela spagna 
delle isole trouate cosa magna. 
This edition omits the final stanza, which is little 
else than the colophon of the other versified : — 
Questa ha coposta de' dati Giuliano 
etc. etc. etc. 
Eyn schon hiibsch lesen von etlichen insslen \ die do in 
kurtzen zyten funden synd durch dé | kiinig von hispania. 
vnd sagt vo grossen wun j derlichen dingen die in de selbe 
insslen synd. 

Getruckt zu strassburg vff gruneck vo melster Bartlo- 
mess I küstler ym iar. M.cccc.xcvij. vff sant Jeronymus 

Small 4to. Seven leaves, 30 lines in a page. Be- 
neath the title is a woodcut representing the appre- 
hension of Christ in the garden ; this is repeated on 
the verso of the last leaf. This edition is very rare. 
A copy is in the Grenville Library. 

Besides the foregoing we are in possession of a 
photo-zincographic facsimile published at Milan in 
1866, by the Marquis Gerolamo d'Adda, of an early 


printed edition of the Spanish original, in the Am- 
brosian Library in that city. It bears no printer's 
name or place or date of publication, but it is un- 
questionably of the fifteenth century, and is con- 
sidered by bibliographers to be of the date of 1493. 
Señor Pascual de Gayangos (in a valuable paper, 
entitled " La Carta de Cristóbal Colon al Escribano 
Luis de Santangel", printed in the Madrid Journal, 
La America, under date of 13th April, 1867) sug- 
gests that it was printed in Lisbon. 

We have also in Navarrete's Colección de Viages, 
printed at Madrid 1825, vol. i, pp. 1G7-175, what 
professes to be an attested literal rendering of a copy 
of Columbus's letter in Spanish to the Escribano de 
Ración (whom we know from Argensola's Anales de 
Aragón to be Luis de Santangel), m the Archives at 

And, further, we have a printed version of a copy 
of the first letter in Spanish MS., discovered by His 
Excellency Senhor de Yarnhagen in Valencia, and 
published by him in that city in 1858, under the 
title of Prime7^a Epistola del Almirante Don Chris- 
tohal Colon... a D. Gabriel Sanchez Tesorero de Ara- 
gón. As editor, Senhor de Yarnhagen assumed the 
pseudonym of D. Genaro H. de Yolafan ; and last 
year His Excellency published at Yienna a little 
work, the nature and contents of which are explained 
by its title, which is as follows : — " Carta de Cristo- 
bal Colon enviada de Lisboa a Barcelona en Marzo de 
1493. Nueva Edición Critica : Conteniendo las vari- 
antes de los diferentes textos, juicio sobre estos, re- 


flexiones tendentes a mostrar a quien la Carta fue 
escrita, y varias otras noticias, por el Seudónimo de 

Be it observed that in all these the titles are sup- 
plied by the respective editors, and consequently 
have no authority beyond the weight of each editor's 
individual opinion. I have carefully collated the 
three documents, and the result is a certain con- 
clusion that neither one nor the other is a correct 
transcript of the original letter. The grounds for 
this conclusion are, that while no two of them en- 
tirely agree inter se, every one of them exhibits cer- 
tain special errors which, as I shall presently demon- 
strate, could not have been in the original. The ap- 
parent rashness of this assertion will disappear if the 
reader will accompany me in my effort to detect 
which of the printed- Latin editions which we j)ossess 
is to receive the distinction of editio princeps. Vari- 
ous have been the opinions on this subject. Mr. 
Lenox, following Brunet, has given the lead to the 
edition which I have ventured to iplace fourth. Mr. 
Harrisse, in his elaborate Motes on Columbus, gives the 
first place to that which stands third in my series, and 
His Excellency Senhor de Varnhagen assigns priority 
to the edition which I make to be the second. That to 
which I assign the distinction of taldng the lead has 
the second place given to it by Senlior de Varnhagen, 
and the third by Brunet, Mr. Lenox, and Mr. Harrisse. 
In offermg a conclusion so much at variance with my 
predecessors, my only means of escaping the charge 
of presumption (])ut that I hojDe is an effectual one), 

i 2 


is neither to adopt the opinion of any one else nor to 
offer any opinion of my own, but to reduce the mat- 
ter to demonstration by facts either within or con- 
nected with the documents themselves. 

On examination of the titles it will be seen that 
the six editions resolve themselves by several very 
strongly marked features into two distinct groups. 
One of these groups, embracing four of the editions, 
is characterized by remarkable inaccuracy in three 
separate points — all four exhibiting all these in- 
accuracies in common ; while the remaining two, be- 
ing free from them, stand clearly defined into a dis- 
tinct group by themselves. 

Thus ; the titles of the editions numbered 3, 4, 5, 
6, all speak of Columbus being sent out under the 
auspices and at the expense of Ferdinand, King of 
Spain, without reference to the name of Queen Isa- 
bella. They all describe the letter as addressed to 
the Treasurer "Sanxis," instead of "Sanchez," whose 
Christian name they pervert from "Gabriel" to "Ra- 
phael." Furthermore, they all convert the Christian 
name of the translator from "Leander" to "Aliander." 

The titles of the editions numbered 1 and 2, on the 
contrary, give the names of both the sovereigns, call 
the Treasurer in No. 2 Sanches, in No. 1 " San chis," 
but not Sanxis, and rightly name the translator 
" Leander de Cosco." 

Now there is no difficulty in showing which of 
these groups has the merit of correctness, or which 
the demerit of incorrectness. 

It is perfectly well known that in 1493 Ferdinand 


and Isabella held the common title of Reyes de 
Es}Kíña. Whether " Sanches" or " Sanxis" should be 
the correct form of spelling the name of a Spaniard 
who was treasurer to the Spanish sovereigns, it 
would be waste of time to question, and that his 
Christian name was Gabriel and not Raphael, we 
have clear evidence from an independent document 
in the Archives of Simancas, dated December 1495, 
for which the reader is referred to Navarrete's Colec- 
ción de Viages, vol. iii, p. 76, line 16, where he is 
called " El tesorero Gabriel Sanchez". His name is 
also mentioned more than once by Zurita in his 
Anales de A^xigon. 

The question then arises whether the palm of 
priority is to be conceded to the correct or to the 
incorrect form. Now all these six titles agree in 
stating that the original Spanish letter of Columbus 
was sent to the Treasiu-er Royal. But for a. letter to 
be sent, it must carry an address, and if Columbus 
inserted in such address the Treasurer's name, he, 
who knew Spanish so well, would not have insulted 
that dignitary by converting his surname of Sanchez 
into Sanxis, or his Christian name of Gabriel into 
Raphael. But even if we suppose that he omitted 
the name altogether, as is probable, and simply 
superscribed his letter with the title of the Treasurer, 
the fact still remains that the translator or editor of 
the first edition derived the information that the 
letter was so sent, directly from the Treasurer him- 
self, who at least knew his own name and would not 
allow it to be transmitted for publication (if Columbus 


had been guilty of the bkinder) under the form of 
" Raphael Sanxis." Nor would he, holdmg a high 
official post, have been guilty of the maladresse of 
omitting the name of the queen in the description of 
his own title. Now of our two groups of prmted 
letters it is indisputable that that one must take 
precedence which comes immediately in connection 
with the original source, and as that source is at the 
same time the head-quarters of correctness, it follows 
that correctness must be the criterion of priority. 

We thus find our six candidates for the glory of 
" editio princeps" reduced to two. Now these two 
issued from two different printing presses. One of 
them is printed by Argenteus, i.e., Silber, and bears 
his name with the imprint, "Rome, 1493." The other 
is without printer's name or place or date of pubh- 
cation, but is indisputably from the printing press of 
Stephanus Plannck, as may be seen by comparing 
it with a work of Benedictus de Nursia of the same 
date, entitled " Incipit lihellus de conservatione sani- 
tatis secundum ordinem alphaheti distinctus per exi- 
mium doctorem magistrum Benedictum compositus." 
Impressum Rome per magistrum Stephanum Planch. 
Anno DomÍ7ii mccccxciii, quarto non Maii. In this 
and other works from the same press the form and 
type precisely correspond with those of our letter. 

Now these two editions of Plannck and Silber were 
either printed simultaneously or not. Instances of 
the same work being printed by two different printers 
on the same day do occur. One example is before 
me of this happening in this very year 1493. The 


work is entitled, " Illustris et Rever endi Domini 
Nicolai MaricB Estensis Episcopi Hadriensis oratio 
ptro consanguineo suo inclyto Hercule Estensi Fer^ 
ixiiñcB duce secundo." One edition in Roman cha- 
racter bears the colophon, Romee impressa p>er mgrmi 
Plannch : Julio Campello Spoletino procurante. 
Anno Salvatoris mcccclxxxxiii. Nonis Januariis. 
The other, in Gothic character, bears precisely the 
same title and the same colophon, with the difference 
of the words, impressa j^er magistrum Andream 
Fritag. Both are small quarto, of the size of our 
two editions of the letter of Columbus. 

But here it must be observed that there was 
apparently a special object in resorting to this excep- 
tional procedure, viz., the production simultaneously 
of one edition m Boman and another in Gothic 
types, to suit the tastes of purchasers. In the case 
before us, however, the question of this motive does 
not arise, for both Plannck's and Silber's editions 
are in Gothic type ; and any way it is clear that, in a 
case of the kind, the same text would be handed to 
each printer to set up, as any patent discrepancies 
between the two would be to the self-stultification of 
the editor. Now, in the case of the Columbus letter, 
such patent discrepancies do occur ; by which I mean 
no mere printer's blunders, but deliberate altera- 
tions of Latin expressions, as for example " ambu- 
larunt" in Plannck is " ambulaverunt " in Silber ; 
"serenissimos Reges nostros," correct Latin in Plannck, 
is " serenissimorum regum nostrorum," making bad 
grammar, in Silber. This fact of itself I contend dis- 


proves simultaneity of production. But side by side 
with these discrepancies we observe the repetition in 
the one, of eccentricities or inaccuracies occurring in 
the other, as in the words " quom," " benivolentia," 
and "nanque." The former, though not incorrect, is 
quaint and unusual, but the two latter are faulty 
peculiarities, and their occurrence, in both editions, 
side by side with deliberate alterations, proves the 
one to be copied from the other either by the hand 
of the transcriber or of the compositor. This fact 
once established, I have to call attention to the follow- 
ing remarkable difference between the two editions. 
In the Plannck edition the distance sailed by Colum- 
bus along the north coast of Hispaniola is stated as 
DLXiiii miles. In Silber's the same figures occur 
minus the d, and with no space left for the letter to 
have fallen out. Now it being understood that one 
of these is a copy from the other, whether through a 
transcriber's or a compositor's hand, if we suppose 
that the Silber edition, which was minus the D, ap- 
peared first, we must perceive that the error is one 
which no special knowledge could enable the editor 
or printer of the other to suspect, much less to rectify, 
and yet in the Plannck edition we should find it so 
rectified. Whereas if the Plannck edition be sup- 
posed to be the first, we have no such difíiculty to 
encounter, but simply meet (in the Silber edition) 
with a negligent omission of a letter, which may so 
easily happen. The next enquiry, of course, is, which 
number is right, 564 or 64 miles ? Fortunately we 
have the means of answering this question with cer- 


tainty, for as we possess two copies, or copies of copies, 
of the original Spanish letter, we find that the trans- 
lator, Leander de Cosco, converted the leagues of the 
Spanish original into miles by multiplying them, 
though ignorantly, by three ; and in one of these two 
copies, which can in other respects be shown to be 
far more correct than its fellow, these leagues are 
stated as 188, which correspond exactly with 564 
miles. It must be clear, then, that the edition contain- 
ing the number 564 was derived from the original 
accounts, while that which contained the number 64 
had allowed the d to be lost. The result I submit to be 
that Plannck's edition must claim the palm to priority. 
To this conclusion it. has been objected by a friend 
that the argument is not complete, inasmuch as Cosco 
the translator, may have sent his translation to Kome, 
with instructions that a copy thereof should be made, 
and that, as the work was of importance, two printers 
should at once be employed in printing from the two 
copies ; that the cop3dst may have thought fit to make 
the alterations which appear between the two, or, 
faiHng him, that these alterations may have been 
made by the compositor of one of them. To which I 
reply that the deviations in the Silber edition are all 
on the side of ignorance, and not such as could have 
been made by an original translator. To take the 
most notable example : in Plannck's edition occurs 
this passage, already slightly referred to, "qu£e res 
perutihs est ad id quod Serenissimos Pteges nostros 
exoptare praecipue reor." "Which thing is very useful 
for the object which I think that our most serene 


Sovereigns principally desire." Here we find the 
right grammatical construction of the accusative be- 
fore the infinitive mood, just as the translator would 
write it. In Silber's edition the sentence stands 
thus: "quae res perutilis est ad id quod Serenissi- 
morum regum nostrorum exoptare prsecipue reor," a 
change showing such ignorance of grammatical con- 
struction that it could not have been the work of the 
translator. I contend that, under such circumstances, 
even if it should be assumed (though there is no 
warranty for such assumption) that the two editions 
were printed simultaneously, Plamick's edition would 
justly take the lead on account of its more immediate 
derivation from the orio^mal translation. 

But before I leave this subject I must call attention 
to a notable fact, which opens up the question whether 
the real editio princeps has perished, or not as yet 
come to our knowledge. It happens that the length 
of the north coast of Hispaniola is tivice stated by 
Columbus in this letter. The Jlist mention of it is 
given correctly in Plannck's edition as " milliaria 
dlxiiii," which I have already shown to be a right 
number, while in Silber the "d"is lost, and the num- 
ber stands "Ixiiii." The second mention of the length 
of the coast is given cdike incorrectly hy both as dxl. 
This fact, brought into combination with those evolved 
by our comparison of the two texts, not only corro- 
borates the non-originality and secondary position of 
Silber's edition, but it raises a question as to whether 
Plannck's was not preceded by another which has never 
come to our knowledge, in which both numbers were 



correctly given. It might be conjectured that Colum- 
bus himself wrote the second number incorrectly, but 
here the different Spanish texts come valuably to our 
aid, and the curious circumstance that the translator 
Cosco converted the leagues of the Spanish into miles 
in the Latin, supplies a most welcome means of 
solving the riddle. Another document, the contem- 
poraneous rhythmical version of the letter by GiuHano 
Dati, will also be of great service in the examina- 
tion of the subject. For the sake of clearness I 
will tabulate them, and distinguish the correct num- 
bers, where they occur, by italics. 



Valencia MS. 

Simancas MS. 






ciento e ochenta 
y ocho legicas. 

ciento e setenta 
y ocho leguas. 



qaatlro vdglia. 



ciento treinta 
y ocho leguas. 

ciento treinta 
j ocho leguas. 



quattro miglia. 

From this table it will be seen that the erroneous 
one himdred and thirty-eight leagues do not tally 
with the erroneous five himdred and forty miles ; but 
the most striking fact that this table presents to our 
notice is that the Dati poem is the only one of these 
documents that has the number right in both places ; 
and it might at first sight appear a very simple and 
easy thing for Dati to see that what was right mea- 
surement in the one case must be the right measure- 
ment in the other, even although the other copyists 
had failed to realise this fact. But not so. Dati com- 
posed his poem from the Latin translation, and if the 
edition from which he worked had been as faulty as 
that of Plan nek, now under notice, he could have had 


no means of deciding which number was right, the 
dlxiiii of the first mention, or the dxl of the second. 
We have the means of knowing, but only because we 
possess the various copies of the Spanish, which state 
the distance in leagues. The necessary conclusion then 
is that Dati worked from a copy either MS. or printed, 
in which the number was right in both places ; and 
this conclusion is corroborated by the fact that, of the 
Spanish documents, the Valencia MS. shows the num- 
ber right in the first mention, and the Ambrosian 
text shows it right in the second. Furthermore, I 
observe that Dati, who distinctly states that his poem 
was " tradocta di latino," gives the letter the date of 
Feb. 15th, a date which occurs in the Spanish, but not 
in the Latin texts which we possess. It follows, 
therefore, that if he worked from a printed text, that 
edition is lost to us. 

But there remains the alternative that he worked 
from the MS. Latin translation, and that the latter 
had been fully rendered from the original Spanish, 
but was afterwards modified by the compositor in set- 
ting it up in type. That such was in reality the 
case the reader will find proved beyond all dispute 
at the close of this disquisition. It therefore remains 
that, while there is no reason to suppose that an 
edition is lost, the edition by Plannck, consisting of 
four leaves, with thirty-three lines to the page, must 
take the lead among those which are known to us. 

But now we come to the very interesting subject 
of the original Spanish. Columbus's manuscript 
letter is lost, and the only representatives of it with 


wliicK we are acquainted are the manuscript copies 
already mentioned at Simancas and Valencia, pub- 
lished respectively by Navarrete and Senhor de Varn- 
hagen, and the valuable printed text in the Ambro- 
sian Library, for the reproduction of which by photo- 
zincography all who are interested in the subject are 
so deeply indebted to the enlightened liberality of the 
Marquis d'Adda. The two former transcripts are 
confessedly made at a much later date, while to the 
latter bibliographers give the credit of the date of 
1493. At the end of the Simancas copy is the ex- 
pression : " Esta carta en vio Colon al Escribano de 
Kacion de las islas halladas en las Indias e otra de sus 
altezas." This office of Escribano de Ración was held 
by Luis de Santangel. The Valencia copy had no 
such sentence at the end, but simply bore the title : 
" Carta del Almirante á D. Gabriel Sanches." The 
Ambrosian text photo-zincographed by the Marquis 
d'Adda bore a similar expression at the end to that 
of the Simancas copy, but with a diííerence ; thus : 
" Esta carta embio Colon al Escrivano de Ración de 
las Islas halladas en las Indias. Contenida a otra de 
sus altezas." Under these circumstances the Marquis 
d'Adda, accepting the pre-supposed fact that Colum- 
bus had addressed two similar letters to the two above- 
named officials, very naturally regarded the Ambro- 
sian text as derived from the Simancas MS. A col- 
lation of the three texts, inter se, and with the Latin 
translation of Cosco, exhibits, however, the following 
results : — the Valencia MS. addressed to Gabriel 
Sanchez is almost a verbatim repetition of the Si- 


mancas text addressed to the Escribano de E-acion, 
while the Ambrosian text also addressed to the Escri- 
bano de Racion agrrees with the Latin text addressed 
to Gabriel Sanchez in certain forms of expression, 
which are entirely different from those used in common 
in the Valencia and Simancas MSS. to describe the 
same thing. This perplexing result has been stated 
by Senhor de Varnhagen in the little work pub- 
lished last year already referred to, and I can confirm 
it by actual careful collation of all the four docu- 
ments. The prima facie inference from this fact 
would, I think, be that the Escribano de E-acion and 
Gabriel Sanchez, either really were, or by some mis- 
take had been taken to be, identical. A very high 
authority on such a subject, Senor de Gayangos, in 
the learned article already referred to, distinctly 
maintains the dispatch of two letters to the said two 
officials, whereas Senhor de Varnhagen not only limits 
the dispatch to one single address, but goes so far as 
to conclude that the Spanish printed text, from which 
he believes the Latin to be translated, is in fact the 
letter addressed to the sovereigns, with the change 
only of "vuestras" into "sus." But as his Excel- 
lency has given much careful thought to this matter, 
and has, under the guidance of a most judicious cri- 
ticism, supplied an amended text, derived from a col- 
lation of the different texts, it is but justice to him 
and to the subject itself to give a literal translation 
of his remarks. This is the more requisite as I shall 
have to submit some facts which seem to me to lead 
to conclusions differing- from some of those arrived at 
by my learned friend. 


His Excellency says : " We hold it for certain that 
the said j^^'^'^iitive edition (the Ambrosian) which we 
have had the opportunity of seeing in Milan, must 
have given origin to the text published in Kome the 
25th April* of that same year (1493) by Cozco, who 
perhaps from not being able to transfer easily to the 
Latm the last part of it, cut it off. The said fact is 
principally shown by the mistake of the date of 14th 
(instead of 4th) of March, which could not be in the 
letter of Columbus, as he had left Lisbon before that 
day ; nor would it be reasonable to suppose that the 
error would be repeated in the same manner, if said 
original had been kept in sight. Still less could the 
repetition of such a mistake be conceived, if the ori- 
ginal manuscript were different." 

Now, before we proceed to an examination of this 
matter, the first thing requisite is to lay before the 
reader a specific difference which exists between the 
Spanish and the Latin texts. In the Spanish (I quote 
from the Ambrosian text) the letter closes thus : 
"Esto según el fecho asi en breve. Fecha en la cala- 
vera sobre las Yslas de Canaria a xv de Febrero mil 
et quatrocientos et noventa y tres años." 

Tlien comes a 

" Nyma que venia dentro en la carta." 

" Después desta escripto y estando en mar de Cas- 
tilla salyo tanto viento conmigo sul y sueste que me 
ha fecho descargar la navios por cosi (correr ?) aqui en 
este puerto de Lysbona oy, que fue la mayor maravilla 
del mundo. Adonde acordé escrivir a sus altezas. En 

* It should be 29th. The mistake is copied from Navarrcte. 


todas las Yndias he siempre hallado los tenporales como 
en Mayo, adonde yo fuy en xxxiii dias et volví en 
xxviii, salvo questas tormentas me han detenido xiiii 
dias corriendo por esta mar. Dizen aqua todos los 
honbres de la mar que jamas ovo tan mal yvierno no 
ni tantas perdidas de naves, fecha a xiiii dias de 

"Esta carta embio Colon al Escrivano de ración de 
las Islas halladas en las Indias. Contenida a otra 
de sus altezas." 

For those who need it, the translation will be found 
in our printed text at page 18. 

The Latin translation ends very differently ; thus: 
" Hsec ut gesta sunt sic breviter enarrata. Vale. 
Ulisbone, pridie Idus Martii." 

Now the reader will observe that in the above 
" nyma " or postscript, Columbus states that on the 
day of his reaching Lisbon he resolved to write to 
their Highnesses, and we know from his diaries that 
that day was the 4th of March, and yet at the end 
the postscript is dated the 14th of March, a day on 
which we know, from the said diaries, that he was off 
Cape St. Vincent on his way from Lisbon to Spain, 
which he was then on the point of reaching at the 
harbour of Palos. 

The Latin, it will be perceived, repeats this discre- 
pancy in a more distinct shape, by bringing the name 
of Lisbon immediately into comiection with the 1 4th 
of March, of which the words : " pridie Idus Martii" 
are the equivalent. 

With these specialities in his mind, the reader will 


be able with greater clearness to follow the f olio win o- 

o o 

disquisition :■ — 

The perfectly sound piece of criticism by Senhor de 
Varnhagen, which we have just read, is based upon 
the accepted premiss that it was on the 4 th of March 
that Columbus dispatched to the King and Queen 
the letter describing his voyage, with the nema at- 
tached. The words of the "nema" itself make such 
an inference highly reasonable. It states that "el 
viento me ha fecho descargar los navios por correr 
aqui en este puerto de Lisbona hoi/ . . . adonde acordé 
de escribir a sus altezas." — " The wind made me un- 
load the ships to run into this port of Lisbon to-day 
. . . where I resolved to write to their Highnesses." 
The diary shows that this day was the 4th of March, 
and hence, 2:)rima facie, the date of "14th of March"in 
the nema would appear to be not written by Colum- 
bus, but a blunder of the prmter of the Ambrosian 
text. This natural inference appears confirmed, I 
find, by the distinct statement of Ferdinand Colum- 
bus that on his father's arrival in Lisbon on the 4th 
— " Súbito espedí un corriero a' Re Catolici con la 
nuova della sua venuta"— "he immediately dispatched 
a courier to the Catholic Sovereigns with the news of 
his arrival." 

Now, supposing, for I do not take it for granted, 
that this statement of Fernando's, written many years 
after, was correct, and that his father carried out his 
intention of writing to the Sovereigns from Lisbon, 
that statement does not tell us that he then sent on 
the account of his voyage ; and if we inquire a little 



further, we have good reason to suppose that he did 
not forward it on that day. There is no mention in 
his Diary of his so doing, although the act would 
be of sufficient importance to call for mention. He 
was in a country where his success in the cause of 
Spain was regarded with intense animosity. He was 
ignorant of the whereabouts of the Sovereigns, and 
in prospect of an early arrival in Spain, when he 
both would gain the necessary information, and could 
send on his precious missive in perfect safety. In 
harmony with these suggestions of mine, I find that 
Herrera, the historiographer, who had in his charge 
all the Columbian documents, states that on Wednes- 
day, the 1 3th March, Columbus left Lisbon for Seville 
in his caravel. On Thursday, the 14th, before day- 
break, he was off Cape St. Vincent. On Friday, the 
15th, at mid-day, he entered the port of Palos, whence 
he had sailed on the 3rd of August of the previous 
year. And Imviyig learned that the Catholic Sove- 
reigns were at Barcelona, he at first thought of going 
there in his caravel ; but subsequently resolving 
not to go to Barcelona by sea, he announced his arri- 
val to the Catholic Sovereigns, and sent a summary of 
what had happened to him, reserving the more com- 
plete narrative for their immediate p7'esence. The 
reply reached him in Seville, and contained expres- 
sions of joy at his safe arrival and at the success of 
his voyage, offered him rewards and honours, and 
commanded him to make haste to go to Barcelona. 
Now, it will be remembered that Columbus's narra- 
tive was already written, and dated February 1 5th or 


1 8th, and only waiting to be despatched, and had at- 
tached to it the nema, which Mr. Gayangos tells us 
was a piece of paper placed on the outside of a letter 
like a padlock, and over which the seal was put. On 
this nema, beyond all question, was the date of March 
4th ; and if, as I gather from Herreras statement, 
Columbus dispatched this narrative of his voyage, not 
from Lisbon on the 4th March, but from Palos on the 
15th, or the 16th, it is not unlikely that on the 14th, 
when he was nearing the Spanish harbour from which 
he was looking forward to be able to dispatch it in 
safety, he should have altered the remote date of the 
4 th, which agreed with the wording of the nema at the 
time of writing it, into the later date of the 1 4 th, which 
was more in accordance with the date of dispatch. We 
know that the letter to the Sovereigns was enclosed 
in the letter to the Escribano de Racion ; and the 
sentence printed at the end of the Ambrosian text 
bears the aspect of an endorsement of the letter by 
that officer's secretary. The date of the Sovereigns' 
reply from Barcelona, March 30th, is in entire har- 
mony, as regards lapse of time, with the dispatch of 
Columbus' letter from Palos on the 15th or 16th 
of the month. The Latin translation was completed 
on the 29th Apru, a full month after the arrival of the 
letter in Barcelona. There was plenty of time, there- 
fore, it is true, for the letter to have been printed in 
Spanish, and for that Spanish to have served for the 
translation into Latin ; but if my suggestion, as de- 
rived from the above data, be correct, that the altera- 
tion of 4 to 14 on the nema was made by Columbus him- 



«elf, my friend Senlior de Varnhagen's conclusion that 
the Spanish printed text must have served for that 
translation becomes a non sequitur. Such alteration 
by Columbus would naturally lead to the erroneous 
"ulisbone, pridie idus Martii" in the Latin text, with- 
out the intervention of the Spanish printed text, in 
which that alteration would of course also be copied. 

I have stated these facts to show that the occur- 
rence of March 1 4th both in the Ambrosian text and 
the Latin translation, does not, as Senhor de Yarn- 
hagen concluded, prove of necessity that the latter 
was derived from the former, but from a common 
origin, to wit, in all probability the original MS. of 
Columbus. But now that I have shown that the 
Latin need not have been derived from the Ambrosian, 
I proceed to show that it could not have been so. 

In the Ambrosian we find Guanahani spelt Guana- 
ham; the island of Matinino called Matremonio, etc., 
while in the Latin text we find the first name cor- 
rectly written Guanahani, Matinino is more nearly 
correctly written Mateunin ; and we have the name 
of an island, Charis, which is left out in the Spanish 
altogether. But as the Latin translator possessed no 
special knowledge by which he could make such cor- 
rections, it is clear that the Ambrosian text could 
not have served as the basis for the Latin ; whereas 
if the two were derived from a common source, the 
errors of the Ambrosian text would be those of its 
copyist, while the accurate rendering of the corre- 
sponding passages in the Latin would be the result, 
not of correction, as Senhor de Varnhagen suggests, 
but of attention to the original. 


Upon this head Seiilior de Varnhagen writes as 
follows : — 

"The Latin texts contain a correction of tlie words 
Guanahanin, Charis (Caribes or Caraibes), and Mate- 
iinin (Matinino) ; but these corrections, if perchance 
it should be proved that they were made at the time 
of the ñrst edition, and not afterwards (which we can- 
not here examine, not having the different editions 
at hand), may have been pointed out by the editor 
himself in sight of the original after the publication 
of the printed text ; or by Columbus himself, on re- 
ceiving it on his road to Barcelona, in order that some 
correct copies might be sent to Rome, by way of 
communicating the news of the discovery that had 
been made, with the view of obtaining the famous 
Bull from Alexander VI." 

Now it is pretty clear that the Latin translation 
had nothing in the world to do with the Papal bull. 
The name of De Cosco indicates that the translator 
was a Spaniard — and it is reasonable to assume that 
a Spaniard would be selected to translate from Span- 
ish into Latin — ; therefore w^e may fairly suppose that 
the translation was made in Spain. It was not com- 
pleted tUl the 29 th of April — tertio kalendas maii 
— (not the 25th, an error of Navarrete's, which Senhor 
de Varnhagen has adopted), and the first bull was 
issued on the 3rd of May. The interval of four days 
is scarcely sufiicient to allow of the formal dispatch 
of the document to Rome, its presentation and the 
drawing up of the ball, much less if it had to under- 
go revision by Columbus, still less if it be a question 


of correction of printed proofs set up in type at Rome 
in that short interval. It is tolerably evident, then, 
that the Latin was sent to Kome, not to the Pope, 
but only for printing. If, therefore, the missive to 
the Pope was in Spanish, and included this letter, 
the corrections by Columbus or by Sanchez, suggested 
by Senhor de Varnhagen, would have been ñir better 
applied to the Spanish than to the Latin, instead of 
the reverse, as suggested. 

It should, however, be borne in mind that in those 
days proofs were not sent out for revision : but as a 
doubt may reasonably be entertained on this point, 
on the score of the many imaginable possibilities that 
may not have been foreseen or taken into considera- 
tion in this criticism, I will now proceed to demon- 
strate that the Spanish and the Latin printed texts 
certainly are derived from different, though similar, 
documents. That they should be similar is natural, 
the one being written by Columbus from the other, 
with such trivial changes as may have dropped from 
his pen in transcribing. 

First : we have a Spanish text, the endorsement of 
which shows it to have been sent to the Escribano de 
Ración. That this officer was Luis de Santang-el we 
know for certainty from Argensola's Anales de Ara- 
gón, lib. 1, cap, 10, p. 99, et seq., where he tells us 
that when the King looked coldly on Columbus's pro- 
posals, because the royal finances had been drained by 
war, Isabella offered her jewels for the enterprise ; 
but this was rendered needless, as '' Luis de Sant- 
angel, Escrivano de Ración de Aragón, advanced 


seventeen thousand florins for the expenses of the 
Armada." This leaves no room for doubt that Co- 
lumbus should immediately send a copy of his letter 
to Santangel, In it was enclosed the copy addressed 
to the Sovereigns.* This text sent to Santangel con- 
sisted of a letter dated February 1 5th, and a postscript, 
announcing the arrival off Lisbon on the 4th, subse- 
quently altered to the 14 th March. 

Secondly : we have a Latin text, distinctly stated 
to have been translated from a letter addressed to the 
Koyal Treasurer, Gabriel Sanchez. We have thus 
clearly two letters addressed to two persons, but to 
anniliilate this duality Senhor de Varnhagen suggests 
" Why not suppose that this last name, Gabriel 
Sanxis, which Cosco thought it necessary to announce, 
was the result of his own verifications ? He would 
inqmre in Rome of the Catholic delegates the name 
of the Escribano de E-acion, and they would give him 
that of the Treasurer General." But this is invent- 
ing one surmise to fortify another, whereas Senhor de 
Varnhagen's own zealous research had provided evi- 
dence to prove a contrary jTaci. The Marquis d'Adda 

* In pursuance of his idea that not two, but only one letter, 
was despatched to head-quarters, Senhor de Varnhagen has 
translated the words of the endorsement " Contenida a otra de 
Sus Altezas." — " Contenida en otra, etc." and then, reasoning 
from the impossibility of Columbus showing such familiarity with 
the Sovereigns, argues, that the letter was in fact addressed to 
them only. With all respect I submit that the natural rendering 
is " Contenida la otra de Sus Altezas" ; Angl. " Contained the 
other of their Highnesses"; or, as it would be clearer in French, 
" Y contcnue I'antre do Lcurs Altesses;" and Santangel appro- 
priately appears as bearer of the missive to the Sovereigns. 


has kindly sent me a photo-lithograph of a fragment 
of an Italian version of this letter, of which His Ex- 
cellency Senhor de Yarnhagen had found the title in 
the catalogue of the Ambrosian Library. This frag- 
ment distinctly states it to have been a copy of one 
" sent by the Grand Treasurer to his brother, Joane 

Thus, beyond all question, it is proved that Colum- 
bus addressed these two several letters to these two 
different persons, from one of which the Spanish text 
was printed, and from the other the Latin transla- 
tion was made and subsequently printed. And hav- 
ing reached this point, we see clearly that my sug- 
gestion of Columbus having altered the date of 4 th 
March to 1 4th 'must have been correct ; and, further- 
more, that he copied the date of "14th," on whichever 
of these two letters was written last, because, while it 
stands March 14th in totideni verbis in one, it is 
rendered " pridie idus Martii" (which means the same 
thing) in the translation from the other. We see in 
this date " Ulisbone, pridie idus Martii," a proof that 
the copy from which the Latin was made, consisted, 
like the original of the Ambrosian Spanish text, of a 
complete letter with the "nema" added, because the 
place Lisbon is derived from the language at the be- 
ginning of the nema, and the date from Columbus's 
alteration at the end. Although the printer, Plannck, 
inserted nothing of the "nema" beyond the said place 
and date, which he placed at the end of the body of 
the letter in lieu of February 15th, we have a clear 
proof that De Cosco had really translated the letter 


and nema as they stand in the Spanish, for when we 
come to look into Dati's poem, which he distinctly 
states to be translated from the Latin, we find the 
date of February 15th retained, hut no allusion to the 
contents of the nema, which, being detached, had evi- 
dently not reached his ha^ids. This fact, and others 
observable in his text, especially when examined in 
combmation with the Italian, which also came from 
the Sanchez original, show that Dati worked from 
Cosco's manuscript translation. As to whether of the 
two printed texts, the Ambrosian Spanish or Plannck's 
Latin, can claim priority, we have no present means 
of deciding, but that the preference is due to the 
Spanish under critical correction is manifest, since it 
has been exposed to modifications from a compositor 
only, while the Latin has passed through the two 
ordeals of a translation and a compositor's alterations. 
For this reason I have adopted the Spanish in my 
text, observing that it replaces the very worst Latin 
text which I could have adopted, viz., that taken by 
Navarrete from the España lllustrada. The faults 
in the Ambrosian text are many and great, and this 
has led Señor de Gayangos to suggest that it was 
printed, not in Spain, but in Portugal, probably Lis- 
bon. An opinion from one so emment has great 
weight, but while yielding to none in sincere respect 
for the judgment of my distinguished friend, I confess 
I think that the circumstances of the letter point, as 
Senhor de Varnhagen has stated, to Barcelona for the 
place of printing. Mr. Winter Jones, the Principal 
Librarian of the British Museum, and late Keeper of 


the Department of Printed Books, whose hibhogra- 
phical knowledge is so well known, tells us that he 
recollects having seen the initial letter S, which com- 
mences the Ambrosian text, but, in spite of great re- 
search, I have failed to find it or the corresponding 
type in any work in our vast library. It is here well 
to remark that no kind oí fac-simile is so baulking 
to bibliographic comparison as the photographic. 
The respective sizes of the letters are altered, and 
the outline is rendered broken and rotten. A fac- 
simile of this same letter, done by the hand, was pub- 
lished in Milan in 1863, in the sixteenth volume of 
the Biblioteca Rara of G. Daelli, and gives the type 
a far firmer appearance than that in the photograph. 
It is obvious that an opportunity is afibrded of cor- 
recting the mistakes in the Ambrosian text from the 
other texts which we possess. This has been done 
with great skill and judgment by Senhor de Varn- 
hagen by collation with the Simancas, the Valencia, 
and the Latin texts ; to these aids I have added the 
Italian poem of Giuliano Dati, and the Italian frag- 
ment, for which I have been indebted to the kind- 
ness of the Marquis d'Adda. 

We possess no detailed description of the second 
voyage of Columbus from his own hand. That which 
is here printed is the translation of a letter addressed 
to the Chapter of Seville by Dr. Chanca, a native of 
that city, who was physician to the fleet in this voy- 
age, and was an eye-witness of the events that he 
related. For this reason it is preferred to two other 
accounts in Latin which are in existence, but which 


have both been made up from hearsay. One of these 
occurs hi the second book of the Decades of Peter 
Martyr of Anghiera, pubhshed first at Seville (His- 
paH) m 1511, and afterwards at Alcalá de Henares 
(Compluti) m 1516, and often subsequently prmted. 
The other is a compilation by Nicolo Scillacio, of Mes- 
sina, who, while studying philosophy at Pavia in 
1494 (?), and Hving with Giovanni Antonio Biretta, 
received from Spain, from a certain nobleman named 
Guglielmo Coma, a description of the recent disco- 
veries of Columbus. This, as Mr. Lenox tells us, he 
translated into Latin, and inserted such other ac- 
coimts as were then universally current, but without 
changing or adding anything. Mr. James Lenox, of 
New York, who is the possessor of one of the only 
two copies of this work known (the other being in 
the possession of the Marquis Trivulzio of Milan), and 
who states that it was first published in 1494, or 
early in 1495, reprmted it in 185 9, with a translation 
by the Rev. John Mulligan, giving as an appendix 
my translation of Doctor Chanca's letter, as printed in 
the first edition of the present work in 1847. It is 
obvious that this work of Scillacio's, which is a pe- 
dantic compilation, cannot compare for authenticity 
with the account of Dr. Chanca ; while the latter con- 
tains more incidents, and is more agreeably written 
than the narrative of Peter Martyr. 

This letter by Dr. Chanca was copied by Navarrete(as 
he himself says at the end of the letter in his work) from 
a manuscript in the possession of the Poyal Academy 
of History at Madrid, written in the middle of tlie 



sixteenth century, and was amongst the collection of 
papers referring to the West Indies, collected by Fa- 
ther Antonio de Aspa, a monk of the order of St. 
Jerome, of the monastery of the Mejorada, near Ol- 
medo.- — This document was unpublished previous to 
Navarrete's compilation. A copy was taken from the 
original by Don Manuel Avella, and deposited in the 
collection of Don Juan Bautista Muñoz, and from that 
copy, after collation with the original manuscript, the 
transfer was made by Navarrete into his valuable 
work. This letter is followed by a Memorial respect- 
ing the second voyage, addressed to the sovereigns by 
Columbus, through the intervention of Antonio de 
Torres, governor of the city of Isabella. At the close 
of each chapter or item is affixed their highness's 
reply. The document was taken by Navarrete from 
the Archives of Seville. 

The two letters next in order in the present trans- 
lation, are from the hand of Columbus himself, and 
are descriptive of the events of the third voyage. The 
first, addressed to the Sovereigns, was taken by Na- 
varrete, under careful collation by himself and Muñoz, 
from a manuscript in the handwriting of the bishop 
Bartolomé de la Casas, found in the archives of 
the duke del Infantado. The second, addressed to the 
nurse of Prince John, is taken from a collection of 
manuscripts, relating to the West Indies, made by 
Muñoz, and deposited in the Beal Academia de la 
Historia at Madrid. The text was collated by Navar- 
rete with a copy inserted in the Códice Colombo- 


Americano, said to have been written in the monas- 
tery of Santa Maria de las Cuevas in Seville. 

The letter by Columbus, descriptive of his fourth 
voyage, was taken by Navarrete from a manuscript 
in the king's private library at Madrid, written in the 
handwriting of the middle of the sixteenth century, 
and probably the same copy as that which Pinelo, at 
page 61 of his Biblioteca Occidental, 4to., 1629, 
describes as having been made by Don Lorenzo 
Ramirez de Prado, from an edition in 4to., which 
does not appear to be now in existence. It was 
translated into Italian by Constanzo Bayuera of 
Brescia, and published at Venice in 1505, and, on 
accomit of its extreme scarcity, was republished, with 
some learned comments, by Morelli, tlie librarian of 
St. Mark's at Venice, in 1810. 

That it had been printed in Spanish is asserted 
both by Pinelo and by Fernando Columbus. 

It is presumed that the manuscript from which 
Navarrete made his copy was that made by Ramirez 
de Prado, because it had been removed to the king's 
library, from the Colegio Mayor de Cuenca, in Sala- 
manca, where the papers of Ramirez had been depo- 

I must not close this bibliographical notice without 
tendering my warmest thanks to my friends, William 
Brenchley Rye, Esq., the learned Keeper of the 
Printed Books in the British Museum ; and Robert 
Edmund Graves, Esq., one of the most accomplished 
of his Assistant-Librarians ; — to the former for most 
kindly making out the foregoing list of incunabula of 


the first letter, and the latter for very valuable help 
in my search for collateral texts by which to fortify 
my conclusions in the toilsome examination which I 
have here brought to a termination. 




A Letter ¡^ent hy Golnmhns to [Luis de Santangel] CJiaMcellor 
of the Exchequer [of Aragov^, respecting the Lslands 
found in the Indies, enclosing another for their High- 

Sir, — Believing tliat you will take pleasure in hearing of 
the great success which our Lord has granted me in my 
voyage^ I write you this letter^ whereby you will learn how 
in thirty-three days'^ time I reached the Indies with the fleet 
which the most illustrious King and Queen, our Sovereigns, 
gave to me, where I found very many islands thickly peo- 
pled, of all which I took possession without resistance, for 

Esta Carta emhió Colon al Escrivano de Bacion de las Islas 
halladas en las Indias. Contenida la otra de Siis Altezas. 

Señor, por que se que aureis^ plazer de la grand victoria que 
nuestro señor me ha dado en mi vyaie, vos escriuo esta por la qual 
sabreys commo en xxxiij días pase a las jndias* con la armada que 
los illustrissimos Rey et reyna, nuestros señores, me dieron, donde 
yo falle muy muchas Islas pobladas con gente syn numero. Y 
dallas todas he tomado posession por sus altezas con pregón y 

' The original spelling of the Ambrosian text, with all its faults, is 
here preserved, with the exception of the separation of words fused toge- 
ther, and the addition of punctuation and capitals for the sake of clear- 
ness. Suggested corrections from the other texts will be placed at the 
foot of each page, V. standing for Valencian text ; S. for Simancas 
text ; I. for Italian text ; L. for Latin ; D. for Dati. Such misspellings 
as a Spanish scholar will readily recognize as the blunders of the Sjianish 
printer I have not thought it necessary to notice. 

'■^ From the 8th of September when Columbus sailed from the Cana- 
ries, to the 11th of October when he first saw land, was thirty-three 

* Habréis. * V. '• pasé de las Islas de Canaria a las ludias." 



their Highnesses by proclamation made and with the royal 
standard unfurled. To the first island that I found I gave 
the name of San Salvador,^ in remembrance of His High 
Majesty, who hath marvellously brought all these things to 
pass j the Indians call it Guanaham. To the second island 
I gave the name of Santa-Maria cle Concepción f the third I 
called Fernandina ;^ the fourth, Isabella;'^ the fifth, Juana;^ 
and so to each one I gave a new name. When I reached 
Juana, I followed its coast to the westward, and found it 
so large that I thought it must be the mainland, — the pro- 
vince of Cathay ; and, as I found neither towns nor villages 
on the sea-coast, but only a few hamlets, with the inhabitants, 
of which I could not hold conversation, because they all 
immediately fled, I kept on the same route, thinking that I 
could not fail to light upon some large cities and towns. At 
length, after the proceeding of many leagues, and finding that 
nothing new presented itself, and that the coast was leading 

vandera real estendida, y non me fue contradicho. A la primera que 
yo falle puse nombre Sant Saluador, a comemoracion de Su Alta 
Magestad, el qual marauillosamente todo esto andado ¡'^ los jndios 
la llaman Guanaham. A la segunda puse nombre la ylsa de santa 
Maria de Concepción. A la tercera Feri^andina. A la quarta la 
Ysabella. A la quinta la isla Juana, et asy a cada vna nombre 
nueuo. Quando yo llegue a la Juana segui yo la costa della al 
poniente y la falle tan grande que pense que seria tierra firma, la 
prouincia de Catay o, y como no falle asi''' villas y lugares en la costa 
de la mar, salvo pequeñas poblaciones, conla gente de las quales 
non podia bauer fabla, por que luego fuyan todos, andana yo 
adelante por el dicho camino, pensando de no errar grandes 
Ciudades o villas, y al cabo de muchas leguas visto que no hauia 
innovación y que la costa me leuaua al setentrion, de adonde mi 
voluntad era contraria, por que el yuierno era ya encarnado,^ yo 

1 Watling's Island. « Long Island. ^ Great Exuma. 

^ Saometo or Crooked Island. ^ Cuba. 

6 V. and S. " ha dado." ' V. " ahi." 

8 So in all the texts. Seuhor de Varnhagen suggests " entrado" for 
" encarnado" ,= 


me northwards (which I wished to avoid, because winter 
had already set in, and it was my intention to move south- 
wards; and because moreover the winds were contrary), I 
resolved not to wait for a change in the weather, but re- 
turned to a certain harbour which I had remai-ked, and from 
which I sent two men ashore to ascertain whether there was 
any king or large cities in that part. They journeyed for 
three days and found countless small hamlets with number- 
less inhabitants, but with nothing like order; they therefore 
returned. In the meantime I had learned from some other 
Indians whom I had seized, that this land was certainly an 
island; accordingly, I followed the coast eastward for a 
distance of one hundred and seven leagues, where it ended 
in a cape. From this cape, I saw another island to the east- 
ward at a distance of eighteen leagues from the former, to 
which I gave the name of La Española} Thither I went. 

tenia proposito de hazer deP al austro y tanbien el viento me dio 
adelante, determine de no aguardar otro tiempo, y bolui atrás 
fasta un señalado puerto da donde enbie dos hombres por la tierra 
para saber si auia rey o grandes ciudades. Andouieron tres iornadas 
y hallaron infinitas poblaciones pequeñas y gente sin numero, mas 
no cosa de regimiento, por lo qual se boluieron. Yo entendia 
harta de otros jndios que ya tenia tomados commo continuamente 
esta tierra era isla, et asi segui la costa della al oriente ciento y siete 
leguas faste donde fazia fin : del qual cabo vi^ otra isla al oriente, 
distincta^ de esta diez o ocho leguas, a la qual luego puse nombre la 
Spafíola, y fui alli y segui la parte del setentrion asi commo de la 
Juana al oriente, clxxviij^ grandes leguas^ por linia recta del 

1 Hispaniola or San Domingo. 

2 So in all the texts. Senlior de Varnhagen suggests " hacerme." 
^ V. and S. " habia otra isla ;" L. '■'• aliam insulam prospexi." 

* V. and S. " distante." 

* V. " ciento e ochenta y ocho." S. " ciento e setenta y ocho." I. 
"cento otanta otto leghe." L. " miliaria dlxiiii." D. " cinquecen- 
sessantaquattro miglia." 

" V. " leguas la cual y todas. S. " leguas por via reta del oriente asi 
como de la Juana, la cual y todos." I. " leghe por la dritta linea del 
oriente cosi como de la Zouana." 



and followed its northern coast to the eastward (Just as I 
had done with the coast of Juana), one hundred and seventy^- 
eight full leagues due east. This island^ like all the others, 
is extraordinarily large, and this one extremely so. In it 
are many seaports with which none that I know in Christen- 
dom can bear comparison, so good and capacious that it is 
wonder to see. The lands are high, and there are many 
very lofty mountains with which the island of Getefrey can- 
not be compared. They are all most beautiful, of a thousand 
different shapes, accessible, and covered with trees of a thou- 
sand kinds of such great height that they seemed to reach 
the skies. I am told that the trees never lose their foliage, 
and I can well understand it, for I observed that they were 
as green and luxuriant as in Spain in the month of May. 
Some were in bloom, others bearing fruit, and others other- 
wise according to their nature. The nightingale was sing- 
ing as well as other birds of a thousand different kinds; and 
that, in November, the month in wdiich I myself was roam- 
ing amongst them. There are palm-trees of six or eight 

oriente asi cortimo de la Juana, la qual y todas las otras son fortis- 
simas~ en demasiado grado, y esta en estremo ; en ella ay muchos 
puertos enla costa déla mar, sin comparación de otros que yo sepa 
en ebristianos, y sartos, y buenos, y grandes, que es marauilla. Las 
tierras della son altas y en ella muy muchas sierras y montañas 
altissimas sin comparación de ysla de centre.^ Son todas fermossi- 
mas de mili, fecharas y todas andabiles y llenas de arboles de mil 
maneras y altas y pare9en que llegan al cielo ; y tengo por dicho 
que jamas pierden la foia, según lo puede comprehender que los 
vi tan verdes y tan hermosos comrao son por Mayo en Spaña, y 
dellos stavan floridos, dellos con fruto, y dellos en otro termino 
según es su calidad ; y cantaua el ruiseñol* y otros paxaricos" de 
mil maneras en el mes de nouienbre por alli donde yo andana. A y 

^ It should be 188 leagues. See Bibliographical Notice. 

- V. " fertilisimag." S. "• fortisimas." I. " feralissime." 

3 V. "Teneryfe." S. " Cetrefrey." I. " Santaffer." L. omitted. 

'' V. and S. " ruiseñor." * V. and S. " pájaros." 


kinds, woiiclerful iu their beautiful variety ; but tins is tlio 
case with all the other trees and fruits and grasses ; trees^ 
plants, or fruits filled us with admiration. It contains 
extraordinary pine groves, and very extensive plains. There 
is also honey, a great variety of birds, and many dif- 
ferent kind of fruits. In the interior there are many mines 
of metals and a population innumerable. Española is a 
wonder. Its mountains and plains, and meadows, and fields, 
are so beautiful and rich for planting and sowing, and rear- 
ing cattle of all kinds, and for building towns and villages. 
The harbours on the coast, and the number and size and 
wholesomeness of the rivers, most of them bearing gold, 
surpass anything that would be believed by one who had not 
seen them. There is a great difference between the trees, 
fruits, and plants of this island and those of Juana. In this 
island there are many spices and extensive mines of gold 
and other metals. The inhabitants of this and of all the 
other islands I have found or gained intelligence of, both 
men and women, go as naked as they were born, with the 

palmas de seys^ o de ocho maneras, que es admiraciou verlas por 
la disformidad fermosa dellas; mas asi commo los otros arboles y 
frutos et yeruas. En ella ay pinares a marauilla, e ay canpiñas 
grandissimas et ay mjel, y de muchas maneras, de aues y frutas muy 
diversas. En las tierras ay muchas minas de metales et ay gente 
inestimable numero. La spañola es marauilla ; las sierras y las 
montañas y las uegas y las campiñas y las tierras tan fermosas y 
gruesas para plantar et senbrar, para criar ganados de todas suertes 
para hedificios de villas y lugares. Los puertos de la mar aqui no 
hauria creancia sin vista, et délos rios muchos y grandes y buenas 
aguas, los mas délos quales traen oro. En los arboles et frutos et 
yeruas ay grandes diferencias de aquellas de la Juana. En esta ay 
muchas specierias^ y grandes minas de oro y d'otros metales. La 
gente desta jsla et de todas las otras que he fallado y hauido,-^ in 
aya hauido noticia, andan todos desnudos, hombres et mugeres, asi 

' V. and S. "seis." I. " setto." L. " septem." D. " septe.'' 

'^ V. aud S. " especies." 

' V. ami S. '' y ha huvido. I. •' lio travado hu iuteso." 


exception that some of the women cover one part only with 
a single leaf of grass or with a piece of cotton^ made for 
that purpose. They have neither iron, nor steel, nor arms, 
nor are they competent to use them, not that they are not 
well-formed and of handsome stature, but because they are 
timid to a surprising degree. Their only arms are reeds 
cut in the seeding time,^ to which they fasten small 
sharpened sticks, and even these they dare not use ; for on 
several occasions it has happened that I have sent ashore 
two or three men to some village to hold a parley, and the 
people have come out in countless numbers, but, as soon as 
they saw our men approach, would flee with such precipita- 
tion that a father would not even stop to protect his son ; 
and this not because any harm had been done to any of 
them, for, from the first, wherever I went and got speech 
with them, I gave them of all that I had, such as cloth and 
many other things, without receiving anything in return^ 

commo sus madres los paren, avnque algunas mugeres se cobijan 
vn solo lugar con vna sola foia de yerua o vna cosa" de algodón 
que para ellos fazen. Ellos no tienen fierro ni azaro ni armas, ni 
son para ello ; no porque no sea gente bien dispuesta et de fermosa 
estatura, saluo que son muy temerosos a marauilla. 'No tienen 
otras armas saluo las armas de las cañas, quando están con la 
simiente, a la qual ponen al cabo vn palillo agudo, et no osan usar 
de aquellas, que muchas vezes me ha acaescido enbiar a tierra dos 
o tres honbres alguna villa para hauer fabla, y salir a ellos dellos 
sin numero, et después que los veyan llegar, fuyan a no aguardar 
padre a hijo, y esto no porque a ninguno se aya fecho mal ; antes a 
toda cabo a donde yo ay estado et podido auer fabla, les he dado 
de todo lo que tenia, asi paño commo otras cosas muchas, sin 
recebir por ello cosa alguna ; mas son asi temerosos sin remedio. 
Verdad es que después que aseguran y pierden esta miedo, ellos 
son tanto sin engaño y tan liberales délo que tienen que no lo 

^ These canes are probably the flowering stems of large grasses, simihir 
to the bamboo or to the arundinaria used by the natives of Guiana for 
blowing arrows. 

" V. "cofia." S. "cosa." T. "cosa." 


but they are^ as I have described, incurably timid. It is 
true that when they are reassured and have thrown off this 
fear, they are guileless, and so liberal of all they have that 
no one would believe it who had not seen it. They never 
refuse anything that they possess when it is asked of them ; 
on the contrary, they offer it themselves, and they exhibit so 
much loving kindness that they would even give their hearts; 
and, Avhether it be something of value or of little worth that 
is offered to them, they are satisfied. I forbade that worth- 
less things, such as pieces of broken porringers and broken 
glass, and ends of straps, should be given to them; although, 
when they succeeded in obtaining them, they thought they 
possessed the finest jewel in the world. It was ascertained 
that a sailor received for a leather strap a piece of gold 
weighing two castellanos^ and a half, and others received for 
other objects of far less value, much more. For new blancas" 
they Avould give all that they had, whether it was two or three 
castellanos in gold or one or two arrobas'^ of spun cotton. 
They took even bits of the broken hoops of the wine barrels, 

creerian sino el que lo viese. Ellos de cosa que tengan pidiendo 
gela, iamas dizen de no ; antes conuidan la persona con ello, y 
muestran tanto amor que darían los coraQones, et quieren sea cosa 
de valor quien sea de poco precio luego por qual quiera cósica de 
qualquiera manera que sea que sele de por ello, sean contentos. 
Yo defendi que no se les diesen cosas tan siuiles comuio pedagos 
de escudillas rotas, y pedagos de vidrio roto, y cabos de agugetas : 
aunque quando ellos esto podran llegar,* los parescia auer 
la mejor joya del mundo : que se aQerto auer vn marinero por 
vna agugeta de oro de peso de dos castellanos y medio, y otros 
de otras cosas que muy menos valian, mucho mas. Ya por blancas 
nueuas dauan por ellas todo quanto tenian auer que^ fuesen dos 
ni tres castellanos de oro o vna arroua^ o dos de algodón fylado, 

1 An old Spanish coin, equal to the fiftieth part of a mark of gold. 

^ Small copper coius, equal to about the (quarter of a farthing. 

' One arroba weighs tweuty-five pounds. 

* V. "llevar. ^ y. and S. "aunque." * V. and S. omitted. 


and gave, like fools, all that tliey possessed in exchange, 
insomuch that I thought it was wrong, and forbade it. I 
gave away a thousand good and pretty articles which I had 
brougfht with me in order to win their affection : and that 
they might be led to become Christians, and be well inclined 
to love and serve their Highnesses and the whole Spanish 
nation, and that they might aid us by giving us things of 
which we stand in need, but which they possess in abund- 
ance. They are not acquainted with any kind of worship, 
and are not idolaters ; but believe that all power and, in- 
deed, all good things are in heaven ; and they are firmly 
convinced that I, with my vessels and crews, came from 
heaven, and with this belief received me at every place at 
which I touched, after they had overcome their apprehension. 
And this does not spring from ignorance, for they are very 
intelligent, and navigate all these seas, and relate everything 
to us, so that it is astonishing what a good account they are 
able to give of everything; but they have never seen men with 
clothes on, nor vessels like ours. On my reaching the Indies, 

Fasta los pedagos deles arcos rotos de las pipas tomauan y dauaii 
lo que tenían commo bestias, asy que me parescia mal. Yo lo 
defendí y daua yo graciosas mil cosas buenas que yo leuaua, 
por que tomen amor y allenda desto se faran^ cristianos, que se 
jnclínan al amor y servicio de sus altezas y de toda la nación 
castellana, y procuran de aíuntar^ de nos dar de las cosas que tienen 
en abundancia que nos son ne^essarias. Y no conocían ninguna 
seta nin ydolatria, saluo que todos creen que las fuerzas y el bien 
es en el cíelo. Y creyan muy firme que yo con estos nauíos y gente 
venía del cielo, y en tal catamiento me recibían'^ en todo cabo 
después de auer perdido el miedo. Y esto no precede porque 
sean ygnorantes, saluo de muy sotil ingenio *y hombres que 
nauegan todas aquellas mares, que es marauilla la buena cuenta 
quellos dan de todo, salvo porque nunca vieron gente vestida ny 
semejantes nauíos. Y luego que legue a las judías en la primera 
ysla que halle, tome por fuerza algunos dellos para que depren- 

' V. " facau." 2 Y. ;^ii¿ g. " ayudar." ' V. and S. " reciben."' 


1 took by force, in the first island that I discovered, some of 
these natives, that they might learn our language and give me 
information in regard to what existed in these parts ; and it 
so happened that they soon understood us and we them, either 
by words or signs, and they have been very serviceable to us. 
They are still with me, and, from repeated conversations that 
I have had with them, I find that they still believe that I come 
fi'om heaven. And they were the first to say this wherever 
I went, and the others ran from house to house and to the 
neighbouring villages, crying with a loud voice : "^Come, 
come, and see the people from heaven I" And thus they all, 
men as well as women, after their minds were at rest about 
us, came, both large and small, and brought us something 
to eat and drink, which they gave us with extraordinary 
kindness. They have in all these islands very many canoes 
like our row-boats : some larger, some smaller, but most of 
them larger than a barge of eighteen seats. They are not so 
wide, because they are made of one single piece of timber, 
but a barge could not keep up with them in rowing, because 
they go with incredible speed, and with these canoes they 

diesen y me diesen notia délo que auia en aquellas partes, et asy 
fue que luego enteudiron, y nos a ellos, quando por lengua o señas, 
y estos han aprouechado mucho. Oy en dia los traygo que siempre 
están de proposito que vengo del cielo por miTcha conuersacion 
que ayan auido conmigo, y estos eran los primeros a pronunciarlo 
adonde yo llegaua; y los otros andauan corriendo de casa en 
casa, y alas villas qercenas con bozes altas, venid, venid a ver la 
gente del cielo. Asi todos, hombres commo mugeres, después de 
aner el coraqon seguro de nos, venían^ que no quedauan grande ni 
pequeño, y todos trayan algo de comer y de beuer que dauan con 
un amor marauilloso. Ellos tienen todas las yslas muy muchas 
canoas a manera de fustes- de remo, dellas maioras, dellas menores 
y algunas y muchas son may oras que vna fusta de diez et ocho 
bancos. No son tan anchas porque son de vn solo madero, mas 
vna fusta no terna con ellas al remo porque van que no es cosa 
de creer, y con estas nauegan todas aquellas yslas que son 
^ V. and S. '' whÍltoh.'' - " fustas." 


navigate among these islands, which are innumerable, and 
carry on their traffic. I have seen in some of these canoes 
seventy and eighty men, each with his oar. In all these 
islands I did not notice much diíFerence in the appearance of 
the inhabitants, nor in their manners nor language, except 
that they all understand each other, which is very singular, 
and leads me to hope that their Highnesses will take means 
for their conversion to our holy faith, towards which they 
are very well disposed. I have already said how I had gone 
one hundred and seven leagues in following the sea-coast of 
Juana in a straight line from west to east : and from that 
survey I can state that the island is larger than England 
and Scotland together, because, beyond these one hundred 
and seven leagues, there lie to the west two provinces which 
I have not yet visited, one of which is called Avan, where 
the people are born with a tail. These two provinces cannot 
be less in length than from fifty to sixty leagues, from what 
can be learned from the Indians that I have with me, and 
who are acquainted with all these islands. The other. 

jnnumerables, y traten sus mercaderías. Algunas destas canoas 
he visto con. Ixx. y Ixxx. honbres en ella, y cada vno con su remo. 
En todas estas yslas no vide mucha diuersidad de la fecliura déla 
gente ni en las costumbres ni en la lengua, saluo que todos se 
entienden, que es cosa muy singular, para lo que espero que deter- 
minaren sus altezas para la conversación^ dellos de nuestra santa 
fe a la qual son muy dispuestos. Ta dixe commo yo hauia andada 
c.vij. leguas por la costa de la mar por la derecha liña de ocidente 
a oriente por la ysla Juana-, según el qual camino puedo desir que 
esta isla es mayor que iuglaten-a y escosia juntas por que alien 
de destas c.vij. leguas, me queda de la parte de poniente dos 
prouincias que yo no be andado ; la vna de las quales llaman 
Auau,^ adonde nascen la gente con cola, las quales prouincias no 
pueden tener en lengüina menos de 1. o Ix. leguas, seguud puede'^ 
entender destos jndios que yo tengo, los quales saben todas las 

'' V. and S. " couvtrsion." L. " conversioiiem. 
- V. "iS'lian." S. '' Cibau." L. '• Auau." 

•' V. and S. " puodu.'' 


Española, has a greater circumference than all Spain^ from 
Catalonia by the sea-coast to Fuenterabia in Biscay, since 
on one of its four sides I made one hundred and eighty-eight 
great leagues in a straight line from west to east. This is 
something to covet, and when found not to be lost sight of. 
Although I have taken possession of all these islands in the 
name of their Highnesses, and they are all more abundant 
in wealth than I am able to express ; and although I hold 
them all for their Highnesses, so that they can dispose of 
them quite as absolutely as they can of the kingdoms of 
Castile, yet there was one large town in Físpañola of which 
especially I took possession, situated in a locality well 
adapted for the working of the gold mines, and for all kinds 
of commerce, either with the main land on this side, or with 
that beyond which is the land of the great Khan, with which 
there will be vast commerce and gi"eat profit. To that city 
I gave the name of Villa de Navidad, and fortified it with a 

yslas. Esta otra española en cierco tiene mas que la espaua toda 
desde coluuya^ por costa de mar fasta fuente rauia en vi scaya 
pues en vna quadra anduue clxxxviij." grandes leguas por recta 
linia de occideute a oriente. Esta es para desear, et vista, es para 
nunca dexar; enla qual puesto que de todas tenga tomada posses- 
sion por sus altezas, y todas sean mas abastadas délo que yo se y 
puedo dezir, y todas las tengo por de sus altezas qual dellas 
pueden disponer commo y tan complidamente comrao délos 
Reynos de castilla. En esta española en el lugar^ mas conuenible 
y meyor comarca para las minas del oro y de todo trato, asi déla 
tierra firme de aqua commo de aquella de alia del grand can, 
adonde aura* grand trato et grand ganan9a, he tomado possession 
de vna villa grande, ala qual puse nombre la villa de Nauidad. Y 
en ella lie fecho fuerza y fortaleza que ya a estas horas estara del 

' V. " Colibre." S. " Colunia." L. " Colonia." Misread from an 
abridged word in the original, which the sense of the passage would 
make " Catalonia." 

- V. and S. " ciento treinta y ocho." L. " miliaria dxl." ]). " cuique- 
ceusessantoquattro uiiglia." 

' V. and S. "en lu<rai'." ■* V. and S. ''habrá." 


fortress^ which by this time will be quite completed, and I 
have left in it a sufficient number of men with arms,^ artillery, 
and provisions for more than a year, a barge, and a sailing 
master skilful in the arts necessary for building others. I 
have also established the gi-eatest friendship with the king 
of that country, so much so that he took pride in calling me 
his brother, and treating me as such. Even should these 
people change their intentions towards us and become 
hostile, they do not know what arms are, but, as I have said, 
go naked, and are the most timid people in the world ; so 
that the men I have left could, alone, destroy the whole 
country, and this island has no danger for them, if they only 
know how to conduct themselves. In all those islands it 

todo acabada, y he dexada en ella gente que abasta para semejante 
feelio, con armas y artellaiias et vituallas por mas de un año; y 
fusta y maestro de la mar en todas artes para fazer otras, y grande 
amistad con el rey de aquella tierra en tanto grado que se pre- 
ciaua de me llamar y tener por hermano ; y aunque le mudasse" 
la voluntad a offender esta gente, el ni los suyos no saben que 
sean armas y andan desnudos commo ya he dicho : son los mas 
temerosos que ay en el mundo, asi que solamente la gente que alia 
queda, es para destvoir toda aquella tierra, y es ysla syn peligro de 
sus personas sabiendo se i'egir. En todas estas yslas me parece que 
todos los honbres sean contentos con vna muger, y a su mayoral 

^ There appears to be a doubt as to the exact number of men left by 
Columbus at Española, different accounts variously giving it as thirty- 
seven, thirty-eight, thirty-niue, and forty. There is, however, a list of 
their names included in one of the diplomatic documents ¡jrinted in 
Xaviurete's work, which makes the number amount to forty, independent 
of the governor Diego de Arana, and his two lieutenants Pedro Gutierrez 
and Rodrigo de líscobedo. All these men were Spaniards, with the ex- 
ception of two; one an Irishman named William Ires, a native of Galway, 
and one an Englishman, whose name was given as Tallarte de Lajes, but 
whose native designation it is difficult to guess at. Ihe document in 
question, was a proclamation to the effect that the heirs of those men 
should, on presenting at the office of public business at Seville, sufficient 
proof of their being the next of kin, receive payment in conformity with 
tlie royal order to that purpose, issued at Burgos, on the twentieth of 
December, 1507. - V. and S. "mudasen." 


seems to me that the men are content with one wifo^ except 
their chief or king, to whom they give twenty. The women 
seem to me to work more than the men. I have not been 
able to learn whether they have any property of their own. 
It seemed to me that what one possessed belonged to all, 
especially in the matter of eatables. I have not fonnd in 
those islands any monsters, as many imagined ; but, on the 
contrary, the whole race is very well-formed, nor are they 
black, as in Guinea, but their hair is flowing, for they do not 
dwell in that part where the force of the sun's rays is too 
powerful. It is true that the sun has very great power 
there, for the country is distant only twenty-six degrees from 
the equinoctial line. In the islands where there are high 
mountains, the cold this winter was very great, but they 
endure it, not only from being habituated to it, but by eating 
meat with a variety of excessively hot spices. As to savages, 
I did not even hear of any, except at an island which lies the 

o rey dan fasta veynte. Las mugeres me "parece que trabaian 
mas que los honbres,ni he podido entender si tenien bienes propios, 
que me pareció ver que aquello que vno tenia todos liazian parte, 
en especial de las cosas comederas. En estas yslas fasta aquí no he 
hallado honbres niostrudos, commo muchos pensauan ; mas antes 
es toda gente de muy lindo acatamiento, ny son negros commo en 
guinea, saluo con sus cabellos corredios,^ y no se crian adonde ay 
jnpeto" demasiado délos rayos solares. Es verdad quel sol tiene 
allí grande fuer9a, puesto que es didistinta'^ déla linia inquinocial 
xxvi. grandes. En estas islas adonde ay montañas, ay tenida* a 
fuer9a el frío este yuierno, mas ellos lo sufren por la costumbre 
que con la ayuda délas viandas que comen cou'^ especias muchas y 
muy calientes en demasía. Asy que mostruos no he hallado 
jnnoticia,*^ saluo de unaysla''^ que es aqui en la segunda a la entrada 

^ V. and S. " correndios." 

- V. " effete." S. " espeto." Navarrete says that in old Spanish 
" espeto" meant a " spit." ' V. and S. " distante." 

* V. and S. " ahi tenia fuerza." 
^ V. and S. "como son." Tj. "qnihns vescnntnr." 
" V. and S. " ni noticia." 
' V. " isla de Quarives." L. " insula Charis nuncupata." 


second in oner's way in coming to the Indies.^ It is inhabited 
by a race which is regarded throughout these islands as ex- 
tremely ferocious^ and eaters of human flesh. These possess 
many canoes^ in which they visit all the Indian islands, and 
rob and plunder whatever they can. They are no worse 
formed than the rest, except that they are in the habit of 
wearing their hair long, like women, and use bows and 
arrows made of reeds, with a small stick at the end, for want 
of iron, which they do not possess. They are ferocious 
amongst these exceedingly timid people ; but I think no 
more of them than of the rest. These are they which have 
intercourse with the women of Matenino,^ the first island one 
comes to on the way from Spain to the Indies, and in which 
there are no men. These women employ themselves in no 
labour suitable to their sex ; but use bows and arrows made 
of reeds like those above described, and arm and cover 
themselves with plates of copper, of which metal they have a 

de las jndias, que es poblada de vna gente que tienen en todas las 
yslas por muy ferozes, los quales comen carne humana.^ Estos 
tienen muchas cauaos, con las quales corren todas las yslas de 
jndia: roban y toman quanto pueden. Ellos no son mas diíformes 
que los otros, saluo que tienen en costumbre de traer los cabellos 
largos commo mugeres, y vsan arcos y flechas de las mismas 
armas de cañas con vn palillo al cabo, por defecto de fierro, que 
no tienen. Son feroses entre estos otros pueblos que son en dema- 
siado grado couardes, mas yo no lo tengo a nada mas que a los 
otros. Estos son aquellos que tratan con las mugeres de matre- 
monio,* que es la primera ysla partiendo despaña para las jndias 
que se falla, enla qual no ay honbre ninguno. Ellas no vsan exer- 
cicio femenil, saluo arcos y flechas commo los sobredichos de 
cañas, y se arman y cobijan con lamines de arambre, de que tienen 
mucho. Otra ysla me segaran mayor que la española, en que las 

^ Domiaica. ^ Martinique. 

^ V. and S. " viva." L. " humana." 

^ V, "que tomaban las mugeres de Matiniuo." S. "que trocaban 
las mugeres de matrimonio." L. " qui coeunt cum quibusdam fenñnis 
quae insulam Mateunim habitant." D. " isola decta Mataniuo." 


great quantity. They assure mo that there is another island 
larger than Española, in which the inhabitants have no hair. 
It is extremely rich in gold ; and I bring with me Indians 
taken from these different islands^ who will testify to all 
these things. Finally, and speaking only of what has taken 
place in this voyage, which has been so hasty, their High- 
nesses may see that I shall give them all the gold they 
require, if they will give me but a very little assistance ; 
spices also, and cotton, as much as their Highnesses shall 
command to be shipped ; and mastic, hitherto found only in 
Greece, in the island of Chios, and which the Signoria^ sells 
at its own price, as much as their Highnesses shall command 
to be shipjDcd ; lign aloes, as much as their Highnesses shall 
command to be shipped ; slaves, as many of these idolaters 
as their Highnesses shall command to be shipped. I think 
also I have found rhubarb and cinnamon, and I shall find 
a thousand other valuable things by means of the men 
that I have left behind me, for I tarried at no point so long 

personas no tienen ningún cabello. En esta ay oro sin cuenta, y 
destay de las otras traigo comigo judíos para testimonio. Y con- 
clusion a fablar desto solamente que sea fecho este viage, que fue 
si de corrida que pueden ver sus altezas que yo les dare oro quanto 
ovieren^ menester con muy poquita ajuda que sus altezas me darán, 
agora specieria y algodón quanto sus altezas mandaran cargar, y 
almastica^ quanta mandaran cargar, et déla qual fasta oy no se ha 
fallado, saluo en grecia enla ysla de xio, y el señorío la vende com- 
mo quiere, y liguñaloe quanto mandaran cargar, y esclavos quanto 
mandaran cargar et serán délos ydolatres."^ Y creo auer hallado 
ruybaruo y canela y otras mil cosas de sustancia fallare, que 
auran fallado la gente que yo alia dexo, por que yo no me he 
detenido ningún cabo, en quanto el viento me aya dado lugar de 

^ Of Genoa, The island of Chios belonged to the Genoese Republic 

from 1346 to 1566. 

2 V. and S. " hobieren." ^ V. and S. "almasiga." 

* In the corrupt edition of the Latin translation reprinted by Navar- 

rete from the España Jlhisirada, this word is rendered " hydrophila- 



as the wind allowed me to proceed, except in the town of 
Navidad, where I took the necessary precautions for the 
security and settlement of the men I left there. Much more 
I would have done if my vessels had been in as good a 
condition as by rights they ought to have been. This is 
much, and praised be the eternal God, our Lord, who gives 
to all those who walk in his ways victory over things which 
seem impossible ; of which this is signally one, for, although 
others may have spoken or written concerning these coun- 
tries, it was all mere conjecture, as no one could say that he 
had seen them — it amounting only to this, that those who 
heard listened the more, and regarded the matter rather as 
a fable than anything else. But our Redeemer hath granted 
this victory to our illustrious King and Queen and their 
kingdoms, which have acquired great fame by an event of 
such high importance, in Avliich all Christendom ought to 
rejoice, and which it ought to celebi-ate with great festivals 
and the offering of solemn thanks to the Holy Trinity with 
many solemn prayers, both for the great exaltation which 

nauegar, solamente enia villa de Nauidad enquanto dexe asegurado 
et bien asentado ; y ala verdad mucho mas ficiera si los nauios me 
siruieran commo razón demandaría. Esto es harto^ y eterno dios 
nuestro señor el qual da a todos aquellos que andan su camino 
victoria de cosas que parecen inposibles : y esta señaladamente 
fue la vna ; porque avnque destas tierras ayan fallado o escripto,^ 
todo va por conlectura sin allegar devista, saluo comprendiendo 
a tanto que los oyentes los mas escuchauan y juzgarían mas por 
fabla que por poca^ cosa dello, 

Asy que pues nuestro redentor dio victoria a nuestros illus- 
trissimos rey et reyna y a sus reynos famosos de tan alta cosa, 
adonde toda la christianidad deve tomar alegría y fazer grandes 
fiestas, y dar gracias solennes a la santa trinidad con muchas 
oraciones solennes por el tanto enxal^amiento que auran, en 

1 V. and S. " cierto." 

■^ V. and S. " tablado otros." L. " scripserunt vel locuti sunt." 

^ V. and S. " otra." L. " prope videbatur fábula." 


may accrue to them in turning so many nations to our holy 
faith, and also for the temporal benefits which will bring 
great refreshment and gain, not only to Spain, but to all 
Christians. This, thus briefly, in accordance with the events. 

Done on board the caravel, off the Canary Islands, on the 
fifteenth of February, fourteen hundred and ninety-three. 

At your orders. The Admiral. 

After this letter was written, as I was in the sea of 
Castille, there arose a south-west wind, which compelled me 
to lighten my vessels and run this day into this port of 
Lisbon, an event which I consider the most mai'vellous thing 
in the world, and whence I resolved to write to their High- 

tornandose^ tantos pueblosa uuestra santa fe, y después por los 
bienes temporales ; que no solamente a la españa mas a todos 
los cristianos ternan aquí refrigerio y ganancia. Esto según el 
fecho asi en breue^. Fecha enla calauera^ sobre las yslas de cana- 
ria* a XV. ^ de febrero, Mili, y qnatrocientos y nouenta y tres años. 
Fara^ lo que mandereys''^. 

El Almjrante. 

!N'yma^ que venia dentro en la carta. 

Después desta escripto :^ y estando en mar de Castilla salyo 
tanto viento conmigo sul y sueste que me ha fecho descargar 
"los nauios por cori^° aqui en esto puerto de lysbona oy, que fue la 
mayor maraiiilla del mundo. Adonde acorde escriuir a sus altezas. 

1 V. aud S. " ayuntándose." 

2 V. and S. " esto segundo ha fecho ser muy breve." L. " haec ut 
gesta sunt sic breviter enarrata." ^ V. and S. "carabela." 

* V. " la isla de Sa. INIaria." 

* V. " 18." This latter date is the only one which corresponds with 
the fourteen days, mentioned in the postscript, during which Columbus 
was detained at sea by the weather previously to his reaching Lisbon 
on the 4th of March. 

® V. "Para." ' V. " mandaredes." 

8 S. " Anima." V. The entire nema wanting. The same in L. 
and D. " S. ''escrita." '" S. "correr." 

c * 


nesses. In all the Indies I have always found the weather 
like that in the month of May. I reached them in thirty- 
three days^ and returned in twenty-eighty with the excep- 
tion that these storms detained me fourteen days knocking 
about in this sea. All seamen say that they have never 
seen such a severe winter nor so many vessels lost. 
Done on the fourteenth day of March. 

En todas las yndias he siempre hallado los tenporales^ commo en 
mayo. Adonde yo fuy en xxsiij.^ días y bolui en xxviij.^ salvo 
questas tormentas me han detenido xiiij."^ dias corriendo por esta 
mar. Dizen aqua todos los honbres dala mar que jamas ouo tan 
mal yuierno, no ni tantas perdidas de ñaues." Fecha a. xiiij dias 
de marco. 

Esta carta embio Colon al escrivano Deraciou délas Islas 
halladas en las Indias, Contenida a otra^ de sus Altezas. 

1 S. " tiempos." 2 g_ u noventa y tres." 

^ S. " setenta y ocho." Both are wrong. It should be forty-eight, 
from January 16 to March 4. ^ S. " trece." 

5 S. "los quatro." Columbus really arrived at Lisbon on the 4th of 
March. For an explanation of this discrepancy, see Biographical Notice. 

® S. " Indias e otra." 



A Letter addressed to the Chapter of Seville hi/ Dr. Chanca,'^ 
native of that city, and jphysician to the fleet of Oolumhus, 
in his second voyage to the West Indies, describing the 
jprincijpal events ivhich occurred during that voyage. 

Most noble sir, — Since tlie occurrences which I relate in 
private letters to other persons, are not of such general in- 
terest as those which are contained in this epistle, I have 
resolved to give you a distinct narrative of the events of our 
voyage, as well as to treat of the other matters which form 
the subject of my petition to you. The news I have to com- 
municate are as follows : The expedition which their Catholic 


La Carta del Doctor Chajica, que escribió a la Ciudad de Sevilla. 

Muy magnífico Señor: Porque las cosas que yo particularmente 
escribo á otros en otras cartas no son igualmente comunicables 
como las que en esta escritura van, acordé de escribir distintamente 
las nuevas de acá y las otras que á mi conviene suplicar á vuestra 
Señoría,é las nuevas son las siguientes : Que la flota que los Reyes 

1 Doctor Chanca was appointed physician to Columbus's fleet by a 
dispatch of the 23rd of May, 1493 ; and on the 24th, the chief account- 
ants were instructed to pay him salary and rations as scrivener in the 
Indies. Señor de Navarrete, who saw the manuscript, " Historia de la 
Reyes Católicos," says that its author, Andres Bernaldez, Ciu-a de los 
Palacios, makes mention of Dr. Chanca, and had this same narration 
before him, as may be seen in the one hundred and twentieth chapter 
of his history. 

c 2 


Majesties sent, by Divine permission, from Spain to the 
Indies, under the command of Christopher Columbus, ad- 
miral of the ocean, left Cadiz on the twenty-fifth of Sep- 
tember, of the year ,^ with wind and weather favourable 
for the voyage. This wind lasted two days, during which 
time we managed to make nearly fifty leagues. The wea- 
ther then changing, we made little or no progress for the 
next two days ; it pleased God, however, after this, to re- 
store us fine weather, so that in two days more we reached 
the Great Canary. Here we put into hai^bour, which we 
were obliged to do, to repair one of the ships which made a 
great deal of water ; we remained all that day, and on the 
following set sail again, but were several times becalmed, 
so that we were four or five days before we reached Gomera. 
We had to remain at Gomera one day to lay in our stores of 
meat, wood, and as much water as we could stow, preparatory 
to the long voyage which we expected to make without seeing 
land : thus through the delay at these two ports, and being 
calmed the dav after leaving Gomera, we were nineteen or 

Católicos, nuestros Señores, enviaron de España para las Indias é 
gobernación del su Almirante del mar Océano Cristóbal Colon jDor 
la divina permisión, parte de Cáliz á veinte y cinco de Setiembre 
del año de años con tiempo é viento 

convenible á nuestro camino, é duró este tiempo dos dias, en 
los cuales pudimos andar al pie de cincuenta leguas : y luego nos 
cambió el tiempo otros dos, en los cuales anduvimos muy poco ó 
no nada ; plogó á Dios que pasados los dias nos tornó buen tiempo, 
en manera que en otros dos llegamos á la Gran Canaria donde to- 
mamos puerto, lo cual nos fue necesario por reparar un navio que 
hacia mucha agua, y estovímos ende todo aquel dia, é luego otra 
dia partimos é tizónos algunas calmerías, de manera que estovímos 
en llegar al Gomero cuatro ó cinco dias, y en la Gomera fue ne- 
cesario estar algún dia por facer provisiones de carne, leña é agua 
la que mas pudiesen, por la larga jornada que se esperaba hacer sin 

' A similar gap in the original : it should say of the year 1493. 


twenty days before we arrived at the Island of Ferro. After 
this we had, by the goodness of God, a return of fine wea- 
ther, more continuous than any fleet ever enjoyed during so 
long a voyage ; so that leaving Ferro on the thirteenth of 
October, within twenty days we came in sight of land : and 
we should have seen it in fourteen or fifteen days, if the 
ship Capitana had been as good a sailer as the other ves- 
sels ; for manj^ times the others had to shorten sail, because 
they were leaving us much behind. During all this time we 
had great good fortune, for throughout the voyage we en- 
countered no storm, with the exception of one on St. Simonas 
eve, which for four hours put us in considerable jeopardy. 

On the first Sunday after All Saints, namely, the third 
of November, about dawn, a pilot of the ship Capitana 
cried out ''The reward, I see the land !" 

The joy of the people was so great, that it was wonderful 
to hear their cries and exclamations of pleasure ; and they 
had good reason to be delighted, for they had become so 
wearied of bad living, and of working the water out of the 

ver mas tierra : ansi que en la estada destos puertos y en un dia 
después de partidos de la Gomera, que nos fizo calma, que tardamos 
en llegar fasta la isla del Fierro, estovimos diez y nueve ó veinte 
dias : desde aqui por la bondad de Dios nos tornó buen tiempo, el 
mejor que nunca flota llevó tan largo camino, tal que partidos del 
Fierro á trece de Octubre dentro de veinte dias hobimos vista de 
tierra : y vieramosla á catorce ó quince si la noa Capitana fuera 
tan buena velera comos los otros navios, porque muchas veces los 
otros navios sacaban velas porque nos dejaban mucho atrás. En 
todo este tiempo hobimos mucha bonanza, que en él ni en todo el 
camino no hobimos fortuna, salvo la víspera de S. Simon que nos 
vino una que por cuatro horas nos puso en hai-to estrecho. El 
primero domingo después de Todos Santos, que fue á tres dias de 
Noviembre, cerca del alba, dijo un piloto de la nao Capitana : 
albricias, que tenemos tierra. Fue el alegría tan grande en la gente 
que era maravilla oir las gritas y placeres que todos hacian, y con 
mucha razón, que la geute venian ya tan fatigados de mala vida y 


ships, that all sighed most anxiously for land. The pilots of 
the fleet reckoned on that day, that between leaving Ferro 
and first reaching land, we had made eight hundred leagues j 
others said seven hundred and eighty (so that the difference 
was not great), and three hundred more between Ferro and 
Cadiz, making in all eleven hundred leagues ; I do not 
therefore feel as one who had not seen enough of the water. 
On the morning of the aforesaid Sunday, we saw lying before 
us an island, and soon on the right hand another appeared : 
the first^ was high and mountainous, on the side nearest to 
us j the other- flat, and very thickly wooded : as soon as it 
became lighter, other islands began to appear on both sides ; 
so that on that day, there were six islands to be seen lying 
in difíerent directions, and most of them of considerable 
size. We directed our course towards that which we had 
first seen, and reaching the coast, we proceeded more than- 

de pasar agua, que con muchos deseos sospiraban todos por tierra. 
Contaron aquel dia los pilotos del armada desde la isla de Fierro 
hasta la primera tierra que vimos unas ochocientas leguas, otros 
setecientas é ochenta, de manera que la diferencia no ei"e mucha, 
é mas trescientas que ponen de la isla de Fierro fasta Cáliz, que 
eran por todos mil é ciento ; ansí que no siento quien no fuese satis- 
fecho de ver agua. Vimos el Domingo de mañana sobredicho, por 
proa de los navios, una isla y luego á la man derecha pareció otra : 
la primera era la tierra alta de sierras por aquella parte que vimos, 
la otra era tierra llana, también muy llena de árboles muy espesos, 
y luego que fue mas de dia comenzó á parecer á una parte é á otra 
islas ; de manera que aquel dia eran seis islas á diversas partes, y 
las mas harto grandes. Fuimos enderezados para ver aquella que 
primero hablamos visto, é llegamos por la costa andando mas de 
una lagua buscando puerto para sorgir, el cual todo aquel espacio 
nunca se pudo hallar. Era en todo aquello que parecía desta isla 

> The island of Dominica, so called from having been discovered on 
a Sunday. 

2 The island MarigaLante, so called from the name of the ship in 
"which Columbus sailed. 


a league in search of a port wliere we miglit ancliorj but 
without finding one : all that part of the island which met our 
view, appeared mountainous, very beautiful, and green even 
up to the water, which was delightful to see, for at that season 
there is scarcely any thing green in our own country. When 
we found that there was no harbour there,^ the admiral de- 
cided that we should go to the other island, which appeared 
on the right, and which was at four or five leagues distance : 
one vessel however still remained on the first island all that 
day seeking for a harbour, in case it should be necessary to 
return thither. At length, having found a good one, where 
they saw both people and dwellings, they returned that night 
to the fleet, which had put into harbour at the other island,^ 
and there the admiral, accompanied by a great number of 
men, landed with the royal banner in his hands, and took 
formal possession on behalf of their Majesties. This island 
was filled with an astonishingly thick growth of wood ; the 
variety of unknown trees, some beai-ing fruit and some 
flowers, was surprising, and indeed every spot was covered 

todo montaña muy hermosa y muy verde, fasta el agua que era 
alegría en mii-arla, porque en aquel tiempo no hay en nuestra tierra 
apenas cosa verde. Después que allí no hallamos puerto acordó 
el Almirante que nos volviésemos á la otra isla que parescia á la 
mano derecha, que estaba desta otra cuatro ó cinco leguas. Quedó 
por entonces un navio en esta isla buscando puerto todo aquel dia 
para cuando fuese necesario venir á ella, en la cual halló buen puerto 
é vido casas é gentes, é luego se tornó aqiiella noche para donde 
estaba la flota que había tomado puerto en la otra isla, donde de- 
cendió el Almirante é mucha gente con él con la bandera Real en 
las manos, adonde tomó posesión por sus Altezas en forma de de- 
recho. En esta isla habia tanta espesui'a de arboledas que era 
maravilla, é tanta diferencia de árboles no conocidos á nadie que 
era para espantar, dellos con fruto, dellos con flor, ansí que todo 

> Dominica has no liarbourf?, but there are several good roadsteads on 
the western side. - JNIari galante. 


witli verdure. We found there a tree whose leaf had the 
finest smell of cloves that I have ever met with ; it was like 
a laurel leaf, but not so large : but I think it was a species 
of laurel. There were wild fruits of various kinds^ some of 
which our men^ not very prudently, tasted ; and upon only 
touching them with their tongues, their countenances be- 
came inflamed/ and such great heat and pain followed, that 
they seemed to be mad, and were obliged to resort to refri- 
gerants to cure themselves. We found no signs of any people 
in this island, and concluded it was uninhabited; we remained 
only two hours, for it was very late when we landed, and on the 
following morning we left for another very large island," situ- 
ated below this at the distance of seven or eight leagues. We 
approached it under the side of a great mountain, that seemed 
almost to reach the skies, in the middle of which rose a peak 
higher than all the rest of the mountain, whence many 
streams diverged into diiferent channels, especially towards 
the part at which we arrived. At three leagues distance. 

era verde. Allí hallamos un árbol, cuya hoja tenia el mas fino olor 
de clavos que nunca vi, y era como laurel, salvo que no era ansí 
grande ; yo ansí pienso que era laurel su especia. Allí había frutas 
salvaginas de diferentes ruaneras, de las quales algunos no muy 
sabios probaban, y del gusto solamente tocándoles con las lenguas 
se les hinchaban las caras, y les venia tan grande ardor y dolor que 
parecían que rabiaban, los cuales se remediaban con cosas frías. 
En esta isla no hallamos gente nin señal della, creímos que era 
despoblada, en la cual estovíraos bien dos horas, porque cuando 
allí llegamos era sobre tarde, é luego otro día de mañana partimos 
para otra isla que parescia en bajo desta que era muy grande, fasta 
la cual desta que habría siete ú ocho leguas, llegamos á ella hacía 
la parte de una gran montaña que parecía que quería llegar al cíelo, 
en medio de la cual montaña estaba un pico mas alto que toda la 
otra montaña, del cual se vertían á diversas partes muchus aguas, 

• The fruit of the mauchineal, which apparently produces similar 
effects. ^ Guadaloiipe. 


we could see an immense fall of water, which looked of 
the breadth of an ox, and discharged itself from such a 
height that it appeared to fall from the sky ; it was seen from 
so great a distance that it occasioned many wagers to be laid 
on board the ships, some maintaining that it was but a series 
of white rocks, and others that it was water. When we came 
nearer to it, it showed itself distinctly, and it was the most 
beautiful thing in the world to see from how great a height 
and from what a small space so large a fall of water was dis- 
charged. As soon as we neared the island the admiral or- 
dered a light caravel to run along the coast to search for a 
harbour; the captain put into land in a boat, and seeing some 
houses, leapt on shore and went up to them, the inhabitants 
fleeing at sight of our men ; he then went into the houses 
and there found various household articles that had been left 
unremoved, from which he took two parrots, very large and 
quite different from any we had before seen ; he found a great 
quantity of cotton, both spun and prepared for spinning, and 
articles of food, of all of which he brought away a portion ; 
besides these, he also brought away four or five bones of 
human arms and legs. On seeing these we suspected that 

en especial hacia la parte donde íbamos : de tres leguas paresció un 
golpe ele agua tan gordo como un buey, que se despeñaba de tan 
alto como si cayera del cielo : parescia de tan lejos, que hobo en los 
navios muchas apuestas, que unos decían que eran peñas blancas y 
otros que era agua. Desque llegamos mas á cerca vídose lo cierto, 
y era la mas hermosa cosa del mundo de ver cuan alto se despeñaba 
é de tan poco logar nacia tan grau golpe de agua. Luego que llega- 
mos cerco mandó el Almirante á una carbela ligera que fuese cos- 
teando á buscar puerto, la cual se adelantó y llegando á la tierra 
vído unas casas, é con la barca saltó el Capitán en tierra é llegó á 
las casas, en las cuales halló su gente, y luego que los vieron 
fueron huyendo, é entró en ellas, donde halló las cosas que ellos 
tienen, que no habían llevado nada, donde tomó dos papagayos muy 
grandes y muy diferenciados de cuantos se habían visto. Halló 
mucho algodón hilado é j^or hilar, é cosas de sus mantenimientos, 


we were amongst the Caribbee islands^ wliose inhabitants 
eat human flesh ; for the admiral^ guided by the information 
respecting their situation which he had received from the 
Indians of the islands discovered in his former voyage^ had 
directed his course with a view to their discovery, both be- 
cause they were the nearest to Spain, and because this was 
the direct track for the island of Española, where he had left 
some of his people. Thither, by the goodness of God and the 
wise management of the admiral, we came in as straight a 
track as if we had sailed by a well known and frequented 
route. This island is very large, and on the side where we 
aiTived it seemed to us to be twenty-five leagues in length. 
We sailed more than two leagues along the shore in search of 
a harbour. On the part towards which we moved appeared 
very high mountains, and on that which we left extensive 
plains; on the sea coast there were a few small villages, whose 
inhabitants fled as soon as they saw the sails. At length after 
proceeding two leagues we found a port late in the evening. 
That night the admiral resolved that some of the men should 
land at break of day in order to confer with the natives, and 

é de todo trajo un poco, en especial trajo cuatro ó cinco huesos de 
brazos é piernas de hombres. Luego que aquello vimos sospechamos 
que aquellas islas eran las de Caribe, que son habitadas de gente 
que comen carne humana, porque el Almirante por las señas que 
le habian dado del sitio destas islas, el otro camino, los indios de 
las islas que antes habían descubierto, habia enderezado el camino 
por descubrii-las, porque estaban mas cerca de España, y también 
porque por allí se hacia el camino derecho para venir á la isla 
Española, donde antes habia dejado la gente, á los cuales, por la 
bondad de Dios y por el buen saber del Almirante, venimos tan 
derechos como si por camino sabido é seguido viniéramos. Esta 
isla es muy grande, y por el lado nos pareció que habia de luengo 
de costa veinta é cinco leguas: fuimos costeando por ella bus- 
cando puerto mas de dos leguas ; por la parte donde íbamos eran 
montañas muy altas, á la parte que dejamos parecían grandes 
llanos, á la orilla de la mar habia algunos poblados pequeños, é 


learn wliat sort of people they were ; although it was sus- 
pected, from the appearance of those who had fled at our 
approach, that they were naked, like those whom the admiral 
had seen in his former voyage. In the morning several de- 
tachments under their respective captains sallied forth ; one 
of them returned at the dinner hour, with a boy of about 
fourteen years of age, as it afterwards appeared, who said that 
he was one of the prisoners taken by these people. The 
others divided themselves, and one party took a little boy, 
whom a man was leading by the hand, but who left him and 
fled j this boy they sent on board immediately with some of 
our men ; others remained, and took certain women, natives 
of the island, together with other women from among the 
captives who came of their own accord. One captain of this 
last company, not knowing that any intelligence of the people 
had been obtained, advanced farther into the island and lost 
himself, with the six men who accompanied him : they could 
not find their way back until after four days, when they lighted 
upon the sea shore, and following the line of coast returned to 

luego que veian las velas huían todos. Andadas dos leguas hallamos 
puerto y bien tarde. Esa noche acordó el Almirante que á la ma- 
drugada saliesen algunos para tomar lengua é saber qne gente era, 
no embargante la sospecha é los que ya habían visto ir huyendo, 
que era gente desnuda como la otra que ya el Almirante había visto 
el otro viage. Salieron esa madrugada ciertos Capitanes ; los unos 
vinieron á hora de comer é trageron un mozo de fasta catorce años, 
á lo que después se sopo, é él dijo que era de los que esta gente 
tenían cativos. Los otros se dividieron, los unos tomaron un mo- 
chacho pequeño, al cual llevaba un hombre por la mano, é por huir 
lo desamparó. Este enviaron luego con algunos dellos, otros que- 
daron, é destos unos tomaron ciertas mugeres naturales de la isla, 
é otras que se vinieron de grado, que eran de las cativas. Desta 
compañía se apartó un Capitán no sabiendo que se había habido 
lengua con seis hombres, el cual se perdió con los que con él iban, 
que jamas sopieron tornar, fasta que á cabo de cuatro días toparon 


the fleet.^ We had already looked upon them as killed and 
eaten by the people that are called Caribbees j for we could 
not account for their long absence in any other way, since 
they had among them some pilots who by their knowledge of 
the stars could navigate either to or from Spain, so that we 
imagined that they could not lose themselves in so small a 
space. On this first day of our landing several men and 
women came on the beach up to the water's edge, and gazed 
at the ships in astonishment at so novel a sight ; and when 
a boat pushed on shore in order to speak with them, they 
cried out "tayno tayno,'' which is as much as to say, ''good,'' 
and waited for the landing of the sailors, standing by the boat 
in such a manner that they might escape when they pleased. 
The result was, that none of the men could be persuaded to 
join us, and only two were taken by force, who were secured 

con la costa de la mar, é siguiendo por ella tornaron á topar con la 
flota. Ya los teníamos por perdidos é comidos de aquellas gentes 
que se dicen los Caribes, porque no bastaba razón para creer que 
eran perdidos de otra manera, porque iban entre ellos pilotos, 
marineros que por la estrella saben ir é venir hasta España, creí- 
amos que en tan pequeño espacio no se podían perder. Este día 
primero que allí decendimos andaban por la playa junto con el agua 
muchos hombres é mugeres mirando la flota, é maravillándose de 
cosa tan nueva é llegándose alguna barca á tierra á hablar con ellos, 
dicíéndolos tayno tayno, que quiere decir hueno, esperaban en tanto 
que no salían del agua, junto con él moran, de manera que cuando 
ellos querían se podían salvar : en conclusión, que de los hombres 

> It was Diego Márquez, the caterer, who with eight other men went 
on shore into the interior of the island, without permission from the 
admiral, who caused him to be sought for by parties of men with trum- 
pets, but without success. One of those who were sent out with this 
object, was Alonzo de Hojeda, who took with him forty men, and on 
their return they reported that they had found many aromatic plants, a 
variety of birds, and some considerable rivers. The wanderers were not 
able to find their way to the ships until the eighth of November. (M. 
F. Navarrete's note, from Bartholomeo de las Casas' Manuscript His- 
tory, chap. 84.) 


and led away. More than twenty of the female captives were 
taken with their own consent^ and other women natives of the 
island were surprised and caiTied off: several of the boys, 
who were captives, came to us fleeing from the natives of the 
island who had taken them prisoners. We remained eight 
days in this port in consequence of the loss of the aforesaid 
captain, and went many times on shore, passing amongst the 
dwellings and villages which were on the coast; we found a 
vast number of human bones and skulls hung up about the 
houses, like vessels intended for holding various things. 
There were very few men to be seen here, and the women in- 
formed us that this was in consequence of ten canoes having 
gone to make an attack upon other islands. These islandei'S 
appeared to us to be more civilised than those that we had 
hitherto seen; for although all the Indians have houses of 
straw, yet the houses of these people are constructed in a 
much supei"ior fashion, are better stocked with provisions, 
and exhibit more evidences of industry, both on the part of 
the men and the women. They had a considerable quantity 
of cotton, both spun and prepared for spinning, and many 

nino'uno se pudo tomar por fuerza ni por grado, salvo dos que se 
seguraron é después los trajeron por fuerza allí. Se tomaron mas 
de veinte mugeres de las cativas, y de su grado se veniau otros 
naturales de la isla, que fueron salteadas é tomadas por fuerza. 
Ciertos mocliachos cabtivos se vinieron á nosotros huyendo de los 
naturales de la isla que los tenían cabtivos. En este puerto estu- 
vimos ocho días á causa de la perdida del sobredicho Capitán, 
donde muchas veces salimos á tierra andando por sus moradas é 
pueblos, que estaban á la costa, donde hallamos infinitos huesos de 
hombres, é los cascos de las cabezas colgados por las casas á manera 
de vasijas para tener cosas. Aquí no parescíeron muchos hombres ; 
la causaera, según nos dijeron las mugeres, que eran idas diez canoas 
con gentes á saltear á otras islas. Esta gente nos pareció mas pulítíca 
que la que habita en estas otras islas que habemos visto, aunque 
todos tienen las moradas de paja ; pero estos las tienen de mucho 
mejor hechura, é mas proveídas de mantenimientos, é parece en 


cotton sheets, so well woven as to be no way inferior to those 
of our country. We iuquii'ed of the women, who were pri- 
soners in the island, what people these islanders were : they 
replied that they were Caribbees. As soon as they learned 
that we abhorred such people, on account of their evil prac- 
tice of eating human flesh, they were much delighted ; and, 
after that, if they brought forward any woman or man of the 
Caribbees, they informed us (but secretly), that they were 
such, still evincing by their dread of their conquerors, that 
they belonged to a vanquished nation, though they knew 
them all to be in our power. 

We wei'e enabled to distinguish which of the women were 
natives, and which were captives, by the Caribbees wearing 
on each leg two bands of woven cotton, the one fastened 
round the knee, and the other round the ankle; by this means 
they make the calves of their legs lai-ge, and the above-men- 
tioned parts very small, which I imagine that they regard as 
a matter of prettiness : by this peculiarity we distinguished 
them. The habits of these Caribbees are brutal. There are 
three islands : the one called Turuqueira; the other, which 

ellas mas industria ansi veril como femenil. Tenían mucho algodón 
hilado y por hilar, y muchas mantas de algodón tan bien tejidas que 
no deben nada á las de nuestra patria. Preguntamos á las mugeres, 
que eran cativas en esta isla, que qué gente era esta ; respondieron 
que eran Caribes. Después que entendieron que nosotros abor- 
recíamos tal gente por su mal uso de comer carne de hombres, 
holgaban mucho, y sí de nuevo traían alguna muger ó hombre de 
los Caribes, secretamente decían que eran Caribes, que allí donde 
estaban todos en nuestro poder mostraban temor dellos como gente 
sojuzgada, y de allí conocimos cuáles eran Caribes de las mugeres 
é cuáles nó, porque las Caribes traían en las piernas en cada una 
dos argollas tejidas de algodón, la una junto con rodilla, la otra 
junto con los tobillos ; de manera que les hacen las pantorríllas 
grandes, é de los sobredichos logares muy ceñidas, que esto me 
parece que tienen ellos por cosa gentil, ansi que por esta diferen- 
cia conocemos los unos de los otros. La costumbre desta gente 
de Caribes es bestial : son tres islas, esta se llama Turuqueira, 


was the first that we saw^ is called Ceyi'e ;^ the third is called 
Ayay : there is a resemblance among the natives of all these, 
as if they were of one race, and they do no injury to each other; 
but each and all of them wage war against the other neighbour- 
ing islands, and for the purpose of attacking them, make voy- 
ages of a hundred and fifty leagues at sea, with their numerous 
canoes, which ai-e a small kind of craft made out of a single 
trunk of a tree. Their arms are arrows, in the place of iron 
weapons, and as they have no iron, some of them point their 
arrows with tortoise-shell, and others make their arrow heads 
of fish spines, which are naturally barbed like coarse saws : 
these prove dangerous weapons to a naked people like the 
Indians, and may cause death or severe injury, but to men of 
our nation they are not very formidable. In their attacks 
upon the neighbouring islands, these people capture as many 
of the women as they can, especially those who are young and 
beautiful, and keep them as concubines ; and so great a 
number do they carry off, that in fifty houses no men were 
to be seen ; and out of the number of the captives, more 

la otra que primero vimos se llama Ceyre, la tercera se llama 
Ayay; estos todos son conformidad como si fuesen de un linage, 
los cuales no se hacen mal : unos 6 oti'os hacen guerra á 
todas las otras islas comarcanas, los cuales van por mar ciento é 
cincuenta leguas á saltear con muchas canoas que tienen, que son 
unas fustas pequeñas de un solo madero. Sus armas son frechas en 
lugar de hierros; porque no poseen ningún hierro, ponen unas pun- 
tas fechas de huesos de torgugas los unos, otros de otro isla ponen 
unas espinas de un pez fechas dentadas, que ansi lo son natural- 
mente, á manera de sierras bien recias, que para gente desarmada, 
como son todos, es cosa que les puede matar é hacer harto daño ; 
pero para gente de nuestra nación no son armas para mucho temer. 

^ This island, called further on Cayre, is most probably the " Charis" 
or "Carib" referred to on page 14, which the log of the first voyage 
makes to be next to and westward of Matenin, Avhich latter all evidence 
shows to be Martinique. Dominica, therefore, will be Charis or Ceyre. 
Turuqucira and Ayay, probably the two islands which form Guadaloupe. 


than twenty Avere young girls. These "women also say that 
the Caribbees use them with such cruelty as would scarcely 
be believed ; and that they eat the children which they bear 
to them, and only bring up those which they have by their 
native wives. Such of their male enemies as they can take 
alive, they bring to their houses to make a feast of them, and 
those who are killed they devour at once. They say that 
man^s flesh is so good, that there is nothing like it in the 
world ; and this is pretty evident, for of the bones which we 
found in their houses, they had gnawed everything that could 
be gnawed, so that nothing remained of them but what was 
too tough to be eaten : in one of the houses we found the 
neck of a man, undergoing the process of cooking in a pot. 
When they take any boys prisoners, they dismember them, 
and make use of them until they grow up to manhood, and 
then when they wish to make a feast they kill and eat them, 
for they say that the flesh of boys and women is not good to 
eat. Three of these boys came fleeing to us thus mutilated. 
At the end of four days arrived the captain who had lost 

Esta gente saltea en las otras islas, que traen las mugares que pue- 
den haber, en especial mozas y hermosas, las cuales tienen para su 
servicio, é para tener por mancebas, é traen tantas que en cincuenta 
casas ellos no parecieron, y de las cativas se vinieron mas de veinte 
mozas. Dicen también estas mugeres que estos usan de una cruel- 
dad que parece cosa increible ; que los hijos que en ellas han se 
los comen, que solamente crian los que han en sus mugeres natur- 
ales. Los hombres que pueden haber, los que son vivos llevánselos 
á sus casas para hacer carnicería dellos, y los que hau muertos 
luego se los comen. Dicen que la carne del hombre es tan buena 
que no hay tal cosa en el mundo ; y bien parece porque los huesos 
que en estas casas hallamos todo lo que se puede roer todo lo tenían 
roido, que no habia en ellos sino lo que por su mucha dureza no se 
podia comer. Allí se halló en una casa cociendo en una olla un 
pezcuezo de un hombre. Los mochachos que cativan cortanlos el 
miembro, é sirvense de ellos fasta que son hombres, y después 
cuando quieren facer fiesta mátanlos é Gómenselos, porque dicen que 


himself with his compauions, of whose return we had by this 
time given up all hope; for other parties had been twice sent 
out to seek hira^ one of which came back on the same day 
that he rejoined us, without having gained any information 
respecting the wanderers : we rejoiced at their arrival, re- 
garding it as a new accession to our numbers. The captain 
and the men who accompanied him brought back some women 
and boys, ten in number. Neither this party, nor those who 
went out to seek them, had seen any of the men of the island, 
which must have arisen either from their having fled, or pos- 
sibly from their being but very few men in that locality; for, 
as the women informed us, ten canoes had gone away to make 
an attack upon the neighbouring islands. The wanderers had 
returned from the mountains in such an emaciated condition, 
that it was distressing to see them. When we asked them how 
it was that they lost themselves, they said that the trees were 
so thick and close that they could not see the sky. Some 
of them who were mariners had climbed the trees to get a 
sight of the stars, but could never see them, and if they had 
not found their way to the sea coast, it would have been im- 

que la carne de los mochadlos é de las mogeres no es buena para 
comer, Destos mochachos se vinieron para nosotros huyendo tres 
todos tres cortados sus miembros. E á cabo de cuatro dias vino el 
Capitán que se habia perdido, de cuya venida estábamos ya bien 
desesparados, porque ya los habian ido á buscar otras cuadrillas 
por dos veces, é aquel dia vino la una caudrilla sin saber dellos 
ciertamente. Holgamos con su venida como si nuevamente se 
hobieran hallado : trajo este Capitán con los que fueron con él diez 
cabezas entre mochachos y mugeres. Estos ni los otros que los 
fueron á buscar, nunca hallaron hombres porque se habien huido, 
ó por ventura que en aquella comarca habia pocos hombres, porque 
según se supo de las mugeres eran idas diez canoas con gentes á 
saltear á otras islas. Vino él é los que fueron con él tan destrozados 
del monte, que era lástima de los ver : decian, preguntándoles 
como se habien perdido, dijeron que era la espesura de los arboles 
tanta que el cielo no podian ver, é que algunos de ellos, que eran 



possible to have returned to tlie fleet. We left tliis island 
eight days after our arrival.^ The next day at noon we saw 
another island/ not very large^ at about twelve leagues dis- 
tance from the one we were leaving. The greater part of the 
first day of our departure we were kept close in to the coast 
of this island by a calm^ but as the Indian women whom we 
brought with us said that it was not inhabited, but had been 
dispeopled by the CarribeeSj we made no stay in it. On that 
evening we saw another island:^ and in the night finding 
there were some sandbanks near, we dropped anchor, not 
venturing to proceed until the morning. On the morrow 
another island^ appeared, of considerable size, but we touched 
at none of these because we were anxious to convey conso- 
lation to our people who had been left in Española ; but it 
did not please God to grant us our desire, as will hereafter 
appear. Another day at the dinner hour we arrived at an 
island' which seemed worth the finding, for judging by the 

marineros, habían subido por los árboles para mirar el estrella é 
que nunca la podieron ver, é que si no toparan con el mar fuera 
imposible tornar á la flota. Partimos desta isla ocho días después 
que allí llegamos. Luego otro dia á medio día vimos otra isla, 
no muy grande, que estaría desta otra doce leguas ; porque el 
primero día que partimos lo mas del día nos fizo calma, fuimos 
junto con la costa desta isla, é dijeron las Indias que llevábamos que 
no era habitada, que los Caribes la habían despoblado, é por esto 
no paramos en ella. Luego esa tarde vimos otra : á esa noche, 
cerca desta isla, fallamos unos bajos, por cuyo temor sorgímos, 
que no osamos andar fasta que fuese de dia. Luego á la mañana 
parescíó otra isla harto grande : á ninguna destas no llegamos 
por consolar los que habían dejado en la Española, é no plogó á 
Dios segiin que abajo paracerá. Otro día á hora de comer llega- 
mos á una isla é pareciónos mucho bien, porque parecía muy pob- 

^ Tuesday the 12th of November. 

"^ The isLaiid Montserrat. See Herrera, Dec. 1. L. 2, c. vii. 

^ The admiral called it Sauta Maria la Redonda. See ihid. 

" Santa Maria la Antigua. See ihid. 

^ The island of St. Martin. See ibid. 


extent of cultivation in it, it appeared very populous. We 
went thitlier and put into liarbour, when the admiral imme- 
diately sent on shore a well manned barge to hold speech 
with the Indians, in order to ascertain what race they were, 
and also because it was necessary to gain some information 
respecting our course ; although it afterwards plainly ap- 
peared that the admiral, who had never made that passage 
before, had taken a very correct route. But as matters of 
doubt should always be brought to as great a certainty 
as possible by inquiry, he wished the natives to be com- 
municated with, and some of the men who went in the 
barge landed and went up to a village, whence the inhabit- 
ants had already withdrawn and hidden themselves. They 
took in this island five or six women and some boys, most 
of whom were captives, like those in the other island ; for, 
as we learned from the women whom we had brought with 
us, the natives of this place also were Caribbees. As this 
barge was about to return to the ships with the capture 
which they had made, a canoe came along the coast contain- 
ing four men, two women, and a boy ; and when they saw 

lada, segun las mucbas labranzas que en ella había. Fuimos allá 
é tomamos puerto en la costa : luego mandó el Almirante ir á 
tierra una barca guarnecida de gente para si pudiese tomar lengua 
para saber que gente era, é también porque habiamos menester 
informarnos del camino, caso quel Almirante, aunque nunca había 
fecho aquel camino, iba muy bien encaminado segun en cabo 
pareció. Pero porque las cosas dubdosas se deben siempre buscar 
con la mayor certinidad que haberse pueda, quiso haber allí lengua, 
de la cual gente que iba en la barca ciertas personas saltaron en 
tierra, llegaron en tierra á un poblado de donde la gente ya se 
habia escondido. Tomaron allí cinco ó seis mugeres y ciertos 
mochachos, de las cuales las mas eran también de las cativas 
como en la otra isla, porque también estos eran de los Caribes, 
segun ya sabíamos por la relación de las mugeres que traíamos. 
Ya que esta barca se queiña tornar á los navios con su presa que 
habia fecho por parte debajo ; por la costa venía una canoa en 

D 2 


the fleet tliey were so stupified with amazement, that for a 
good hour they remained motionless at the distance of nearly 
two gunshots from the ships. In this position they were 
seen by those who were in the barge and also by all the 
fleet. Meanwhile those in the barge moved towards the 
canoe, but so close in shore, that the Indians, in their per- 
plexity and astonishment as to what all this could mean, 
never saw them, until they were so near that escape was im- 
possible ; for our men pressed on them so rapidly that they 
could not get away, although they made considerable effort 
to do so. 

When the Caribbees saw that all attempt at flight was 
useless, they most courageously took to their bows, both 
women and men ; I say most courageously, because they 
were only four men and two women, and our people were 
twenty-five in number. Two of our men were wounded by 
the Indians, one with two arrow-shots in his breast, and 
another with one in his side, and if it had not happened that 
they canned shields and wooden bucklers, and that they soon 
got near them with the barge and upset their canoe, most of 

que venían cuatro hombres é dos mugeres é un mochacho, é desque 
vieron la flota maravillados se embebecieron tanto que por una 
grande hora estovieron que no se movieron de un lugar casi dos 
tiros de lombarda de los navios. En esto fueron vistos de los que 
estaban en la barca é aun de toda la flota. Luego los de la barca 
fueron para ellos tan junto con la tierra, que con el embebecimi- 
ento que tenían, maravillándose é pensando que cosa seria, nunca 
los vieron hasta que estovieron muy cerca dellos, que no les pu- 
dieron mucho huir aunque harto trabajaron por ello ; pero los 
nuestros aguijaron con tanta priesa que no se les pudieron ir. 
Los Caribes desque vieron que el hoír no les aprovechaba, con 
mucha osadía pusieron mano á los arcos, también las mugeres 
como los hombres ; é digo con mucha osadía porque ellos no eran 
mas de cuatro hombres y dos mugeres, é los nuestros mas de 
veinte é cinco, de los cuales firíeron dos, al uno dieron dos fre- 
chadas en los pechos é al otro una por el costado, é sino fuera 


them would have been killed with their arrows. After their 
canoe was upset, they remained in the water swimming and 
occasionally wading (for there were shallows in that part), 
still using their bows as much as they could, so that our men 
had enough to do to take them : and after all there was one 
of them whom they were unable to secure till he had received 
a mortal wound with a lance, and whom thus wounded they 
took to the ships. The difference between these Caribbees 
and the other Indians, with respect to dress, consists in their 
wearing their hair vei-y long, while the others have it dipt 
irregularly and paint their heads with crosses and a hundred 
thousand different devices, each according to his fancy; 
which they do with sharpened reeds. All of them, both the 
Caribbees and the others, are beardless, so that it is a rare 
thing to find a man with a beard : the Caribbees whom we 
took had their eyes and eyebrows stained, which I imagine 
they do from ostentation. It gave them a more formidable 
appearance. One of these captives said, that in an island 
belonging to them called Cayre^ (which is the first that we 

porque llevaban adargas é tablachutas, é porque los invistieron 
presto coa la bai'ca é les trastornaron su canoa, asaetearan con 
sus frechas los mas dellos. E después de trastornada su canoa 
quedaron en el agua nadando, é á las veces haciendo pie, que allí 
habia unos bajos, é to vieron harto que hacer en tomarlos, que to- 
davía cuanto podían tiraban, é con todo eso el uno no lo pudieron 
tomar sino mal herido de una lanzada que murió, el cual trajeron 
ansí herido fasta les navios. La diferencia destos á los otros 
indios en el hábito, es que los de Caribe tienen el cabello muy 
largo, los otros son tresquilados é fechas cien mil diferencias en 
las cabezas de cruces, é de otras pinturas en diversas maneras, 
cada uno como se le antoja, lo cual se hacen con cañas agudas. 
Todos ansí los de Caribe como los otros es gente sin barbas, que 
por maravilla hallarás hombre que las tenga. Estos Caribes que 
allí tomaron venían tiznados los ojos é las cejas, lo cual me parece 
que hacen por gala, é con aquello parescian mas espantables ; el 
^ Dominica, see note, p. 31. 


saw^ thougli we did not go to it)^ there is a great quantity 
of gold j and that if we were to take them nails and tools 
with which to make their canoes^ we might bring away as 
much gold as we liked. On the same day we left that island, 
having been there no more than six or seven hours ; and, 
steering for another point of land^ which appeared to lie in 
our intended course, we reached it by night. On the morn- 
ing of the following day we coasted along it, and found it to 
be a large extent of country, but not continuous, for it was 
divided into more than forty islets." The land was very high 
and most of it barren, an appearance which we have never 
observed in any of the islands visited by us before or since : 
the surface of the ground seemed to suggest the probability 
of its containing metals. None of us went on shore here, 
but a small latteen caravel went up to one of the islets and 
found in it some fishermen's huts ; the Indian women whom 
we brought with us said they were not inhabited. We pro- 

tmo destos dice que en una isla dellos, llamada Cayre, que es la 
primera que vimos, á la cual no llegamos, hay mucho oro ; que 
vayan allá cou clavos é contezuelas para hacer sus canoas, é que 
traerán cuanto oro quisieren. Luego aquel dia partimos de esta 
isla, que no estaríamos allí mas de seis ó siete horas, fuemos para 
otra tierra que pareció á ojo que estaba en el camino que había- 
mos de facer : llegamos noche cerca della. Otro dia de mañana 
fuimos por la costa della : era muy gran tierra, aunque no era 
muy continua, que eran mas de cuarenta y tantos íslones, tierra 
muy alta, é la mas della pelada, la cual no era ninguna ni es de 
las qu.e antes ni después habernos visto. Parescia tierra dispuesta 
para haber en ella metales : á esta no llegamos para saltar en 
tierra, salvo una carabela latina llegó á un íslon de estos, en el 
cual hallaron ciertas casas de pescadores. Las Indias que traía- 
mos dijeron que no eran pobladas. Andovimos por esta costa lo 

• The island of Santa Oniz, where they anchored on Thursday the 
fourteenth of November. See Hen-era, Dec. 1. L. 2, cap. vii. 

2 The admiral named the largest of these islands St. Ursula, and all 
the others The eleven thousand Virgins. See ibid. 


ceeded along the coast the greater part of that day, and on 
the evening of the next we discovered another island called 
Burenquen^^ which we judged to be thii'ty leagues in length, 
for we were coasting along it the whole of one day. This 
island is very beautiful and apparently fertile : hither the 
Caribbees come with the view of subduing the inhabitants, 
and often carry away many of the people. These islanders 
have no boats nor any knowledge of navigation ; but, as our 
captives inform us, they use bows as well as the Caribbees, 
and if by chance when they are attacked they succeed in 
taking any of their invaders, they will eat them in like man- 
ner as the Caribbees themselves in tlie contrary event would 
devour them. We remained two days in this island, and a 
great number of our men went on shore, but could never 
get speech of the natives, who had all fled, from fear of the 
Caribbees. All the above-mentioned islands were discovered 
in this voyage, the admiral having seen nothing of them in 
his former voyage. They are all very beautiful and possess 
a most luxuriant soil, but this last island appeared to exceed 

mas deste dia, hasta otro día en la tarde que llegamos á vista de 
otra isla llamada Burenquen, cuya costa corrimos todo un dia : 
juzgábase que ternia por aquella banda treinta leguas. Esta isla 
es muy hermosa y muy fértil á parecer : á estu vienon los de 
Caribe á conquistar, de la cual llevaban mucha gente ; estos no 
tienen fustas ningunas nin saben andar por mar ; pero, según 
dicen estos Caribes que tomamos, usan arcos como ellos, é si por 
caso cuando los vienen á saltear los pueden prender también se los 
comen como los de Caribe á ellos. En un puerto desta isla esto- 
vimos dos dias, donde saltó mucha gente en tierra; pero jamas pedi- 
mos haber lengua, que todos se fuyeron como gente temorizadas de 
los Caribes. Todas estas islas dichas fueron descubiertas deste 
camino, que fasta aquí ninguna dellas habia visto el Almirante el 
otro viage, todos son muy hermosas é de muy buena tierra ; pero 
esta paresció mejor á todos : aquí casi se acabaron las islas que 

1 Tlic island of Porto Rico, to which the admiral gave the name of 
JSt. John the Baptist. Soc Herrera, Dec. 1. L. 2, cap. vii. 


all the otliers in beauty. Here terminated the islands, which 
on the side towards Spain had not been seen before by the 
admiral, although we regard it as a matter of certainty that 
there is land more than forty leagues beyond the foremost of 
these newly discovered islands, on the side nearest to Spain. 
We believe this to be the case, because, two days before we 
saw land, we observed some birds called rabihorcados (or 
pelicans), marine birds of prey which do not sit or sleep upon 
the water, making circumvolutions in the air at the close of 
evening previous to taking their flight towards land for the 
night. These birds could not be going to settle at more 
than twelve or fifteen leagues distance, because it was late 
in the evening, and this was on our right hand on the side 
towards Spain ; from which we all judged that there was 
laud there still undiscovered ; but we did not go in search 
of it, because it would have taken us round out of our in- 
tended route. I hope that in a few voyages it will be dis- 
covei-ed. It was at dawn that we left the before-mentioned 
island of Burenquen,^ and on that day before nightfall we 

facia la parte de España habia dejado de ver el Almirante, aunque 
tenemos por cosa cierta que hay tierra mas de cuarenta leguas 
antes de estas primeras hasta España, porque dos días antes que 
viésemos tierra vimos unas aves que llaman rabihorcados, que son 
aves de rapiña marinas é ni sientan ni duermen sobre el agua, 
sobre tarde rodeando sobir en alto, é después tiran su via á buscar 
tierra para dormir, las cuales no podrían ir á caer según era tarde 
de doce ó quince leguas arriba, y esto era á la man derecha donde 
veniamos hasta la parte de España ; de donde todos juzgaron allí 
quedar tierra, lo cual no se buscó porque se nos hacia rodeo para 
la via que traíamos. Espero que á pocos viages se hallará. Desta 
isla sobredicha partimos una madrugada, é aquel dia, antes que 
fuese noche, hobimos vista de tierra, la cual tampoco era cono- 
cida de ninguno de los qua habían venido el otro víage ; pero 
por las nuevas de las indias que traíamos sospechamos que era la 

' Porto Rico. 


caught sight of land, which though not recognizod by any 
of those who had come hither in the former voyage, we be- 
hoved to be Española, from the information given us by the 
Indian women whom Ave had with us : and in this island we 
remain at present.^ Between it and Burenquen^ another 
island appeared at a distance, but of no great size. When 
we reached Española the land, at the part where we ap- 
proached it, was low and very flat,^ on seeing which, a ge- 
neral doubt arose as to its identity ; for, neither the admiral 
nor his companions, on the previous voyage, had seen it on 
this side. 

The island being large, is divided into provinces ; the 
part which we first touched at, is called Hayti ; another pro- 
vince adjoining it, they call Xamana j and the next province 
is named Bohio, where we now are. These provinces are 
again subdivided, for they are of great extent. Those who 
have seen the length of its coast, state that it is two hun- 
dred leagues long, and I, myself, should judge it not to be 

Española, en la cual agora estamos. Entre esta isla é la otra de 
Buriquen parecía de lejos otra, aiinque no era grande. Desque 
llegamos á esta Española, por el comienzo de alia era tierra baja 
y muy llana, del conocimiento de la cual aun estaban todos dub- 
dosos si fuese la que es, porque aquella parte nin el Almirante ni 
los otros que con él vinieron habían visto, é aquesta isla como es 
grande es nombrada por provincias, e á esta parte que primero 
llegamos llaman Haytí, y luego á la otra provincia junta con esta 
llaman Xamaná, é á la otra Bohio; en la cual agora estamos ; ansi 
hay en ellas muchas provincias porque es gran cosa, porque según 
afirman los que la han visto por la costa de largo, dicen que habrá 
doscientas leguas : á mi me parece que á lo menos habrá ciento 

^ On Friday, the twenty-second of November, the admiral first caught 
sight of the island of Española. See Herrera, Dec. 1. L. 2, cap. vii. 

2 Mona Island. 

3 Apparently between Point Macao and Point Engaño, which is flat. 
The hiiiher laud of the north coast commences at Point INlacao. 


less than a hundred and fifty leagues : as to its breadth^ no- 
thing is hitherto known ; it is now forty days since a caravel 
left us with the view of circumnavigating it^ and is not yet 
returned.^ The country is very remarkable^ and contains a 
vast number of large rivers, and extensive chains of moun- 
tains, with broad open valleys, and the mountains are very 
high : it does not appear that the grass is ever cut through- 
out the year. I do not think that they have any winter in 
this part, for at Christmas were found many birds-nests, 
some containing the young birds, and others containing 
eggs. No four-footed animal has ever been seen in this or 
any of the other islands, except some dogs of various colours, 
as in our own country, but in shape like large house-dogs ; 
and also some little animals, in colour, size, and fur, like a 
rabbit, with long tails, and feet like those of a rat ; these 
animals climb up the trees, and many who have tasted them, 
say they are very good to eat :^ there are not any wild 
beasts. There are great numbers of small snakes, and some 

é cincuenta ; del ancho della hasta agora no se sabe. Alia es ido 
cuarenta días ha á rodearla una carabela, la cual no es venida 
hasta hoy. Es tierra muy singular, donde hay infinitos ríos grandes 
é sierras grandes é valles grandes rasos, grandes montañas : sos- 
pecho que nunca se secan las yerbas en todo el año. Non creo 
que hay invierno ninguno en esta nin en las atrás, porque por 
Navidad se fallan muchos nidos de aves, dellas con pájaros, é del- 
las con huevos. En ella ni en las otras nunca se ha visto animal 
de cuatro pies, salvo algunos perros de todas colores como en nu- 
estra patria, la hechura como unos gosques grandes ; de animales 
salvages no hay. Otrosí, hay un animal de color de conejo é de 
su pelo, el grandor de un conejo nuevo, el rabo largo, los pies é 
manos como de ratón, suben por los árboles, muchos los han co- 
mido, dicen que es muy bueno de comer : hay culebras muchas 

1 On the parallel of 18° 25' the island has an extreme length of 400 
miles, and its extreme breadth may be taken at 150 on the meridian of 
71" 20'. - In all probability a species of capromys. 


lizards, but not many; for tlie Indians consider tliem as 
great a luxury as we do pheasants : they are of the same 
size as ours, but different in shape. In a small adjacent 
island^ (close by a harbour called Monte Christo, where we 
stayed several days), our men saw an enormous kind of 
lizard, which they said was as large round as a calf,^ with a 
tail as long as a lance, which they often went out to kill : 
but bulky as it was, it got into the sea, so that they could 
not catch it. There are, both in this and the other islands, 
an infinite number of birds like those in our own country, 
and many others such as we had never seen. No kind of 
domestic fowl has been seen here, with the exception of 
some ducks in the houses in Zuruquia ; these ducks were 
larger than those of Spain, though smaller than geese, — 
very pretty, with flat crestSj most of them as white as snow, 
but some black. 

We ran along the coast of this island nearly a hundred 
leagues, concluding, that within this range we should find 
the spot where the admiral had left some of his men, and 

no grandes ; lagartos aunque no muchos, porque los indios liacen 
tanta fiesta dellos como liaríamos allá con faisanes, son del tamaño 
de los de allá, salvo que en la hechura son diferentes, aunque en 
una isleta pequeña, que está junto con un puerto que llaman 
Monte Christo, donde estovimos muchos dias, vieron machos dias 
un lagarto muy grande que decían que seria de gordura de un 
becerro é atan compiído como una lanza, é muchas veces salieron 
por lo matar, é con la mucha espesura se les metía en la mar, de 
manera que no se pudo haber del derecho. Hay en esta isla y en 
las otras infinitas aves de las de nuestra patria, é otras muchas 
que allá nunca se vieron : de las aves domésticas nunca se ha 
visto acá ninguna, salvo en la Zuruquía había en las casas unas 
ánades, las mas dellas blancas como la nieve é algunas dellas ne- 
gras, muy lindas, con crestas rasas, mayores que las de allá, me- 

^ Cabras or Goat Lslaud, close to "el Fraile" iu the Bay of Monto 
Cristi. '' An alliiiator. 


which we supposed to be about the middle of the coast. As 
we passed by the province called Xamana, we sent on shore 
one of the Indians^ who had been taken in the previous voy- 
age, clothedj and carrying some trifles, wbich the admiral 
had ordered to be given him. On that day died one of our 
sailors, a Biscayan, who had been wounded in the affray with 
the Caribbees, when they were captured, as I have already 
described, through their want of caution. As we were pro- 
ceeding along the coast, an opportunity was afforded for a 
boat to go on shore to bury him, the boat being accompa- 
nied by two caravels to protect it. When they reached the 
shore, a great number of Indians came out to the boat, some 
of them wearing necklaces and ear-rings of gold, and ex- 
pressed a wish to accompany the Spaniards to the ships ; 
but our men refused to take them, because they had not re- 
ceived permission from the admiral. When the Indians 
found that they would not take them, two of them got into 
a small canoe, and went up to one of the caravels that had 
put in to shore ; they were received on board with great 
kindness, and taken to the admiral's ship, where, through 

nores que ánsares. Por la costa desta isla corrimos al pie de cien 
leguas porque hasta donde el Almirante había dejado la gente, 
habría en este compás, que será en comedio ó en medio de la isla. 
Andando por la provincia della llamada Xamauá, en derecho 
echamos en tierra uno de los indios quel etro viage habían llevado 
vestido, é con algunas cosíllas quel Almirante le habia mandado 
dar. Aquel dia se nos murió un marinei-o vizcaíno que había seído 
herido de los Caribes, que ya dije que se tomaron, por su mala 
guarda, ó porque íbamos por costa de tierra, dióse lugar que 
saliese una barca á enterrarlo, é fueron en reguarda de la barca 
dos carabelas cerca con tierra. Salieron á la barca en llegando 
en tierra muchos indios, de los cuales algunos traian oro al cu- 
ello, é á las orejas ; querían venir con los cristianos á los navios, 
é no los quisieron traer, porque no llevaban licencia del Almi- 
rante ; los cuales desque vieron que no los querían traer se me- 
tieron dos dcllos en una canoa pequeña, c se vinieron á una cara- 


the medium of an interpreter, they related that a certain 
king had sent them to ascertain who we were, and to invite 
us to land, adding that they had plenty of gold, and also of 
provisions, to which we should be welcome. The admiral 
desired that shirts, and caps, and other trifles, should be 
given to each of them, and said that as he was going to the 
place whei-e Guacamari dwelt, he would not stop then, but 
that on a future day they would have an opportunity of seeing 
him, and with that they departed. We continued our route 
till we came to an harbour called Monte Cristi, where we 
remained two days, in order to observe the position of the 
land ; for the admiral had an objection to the spot where his 
men had been left with the view of forming a station. We 
went on shore therefore to observe the formation of the 
land. There was a large river of excellent water close by ;^ 
but the ground was inundated, and very ill- calculated for 
habitation. As we went on making our observations on the 
river and the land, some of our men found two dead bodies 
by the river's side, one with a rope round his neck, and the 
other with one round his foot : this was on the first day of 

bela de las que se habían acercado á tierra, en la cual los recibieron 
con su amor, é trajéronlos á la nao del Almirante, é dijeron, me- 
diante un interprete, que un Rey fulano les enviaba á saber que 
gente eramos, é á rogar que quisiésemos llegar á tierra, porque 
tenían mucho oro é le darían dello, é de lo que tenían de comer : 
el Almirante les mandó dar sendas camisas é bonetes é otras co- 
sillas, é les dijo que porque iba á donde estaba Guacamarí non se 
podría detener, que otro tiempo habría que le pudiese ver, é con 
esto se fueron. No cesamos de andar nuestro camino fasta llegar 
á un puerto llamado Monte Cristi, donde estuvimos dos días para 
ver la disposición de la tierra, porque no habia parecido bien al 
Almirante el logar donde habia dejado la gente para hacer asiento. 
Decendimos en tierra para ver la dispusicion : habia cerca de allí 
un gran rio de muy buena agua ; pero es toda tierra anegada é 
mu}" indispuesta para habitar. Andando veyendo el rio é tierra 

' The river Yaque. 


our landing. On the following day they found two other 
corpses farther on, and one of these was observed to have a 
great quantity of beard. This was regarded as a very suspi- 
cious circumstance by many of our people, because, as I have 
already said, all the Indians are beardless. This harbour is 
twelve leagues from the place where the Spaniards had been 
left under the protection of Guacamari, the king of that pro- 
vince, whom I suppose to be one of the chief men of the 
island. After two days we set sail for that spot, but as 
it was late when we arrived,^ and there were some shoals, 
where the admiral's ship had been lost, we did not venture 
to put in close to the shore, but remained that night at a 
little less than a league from the coast, waiting until the 
morning, when we might enter securely. On that evening, 
a canoe, containing five or six Indians, came out at a consi- 
derable distance from where we were, and approached us 

hallaron alf^nos de los nuestros en una parte dos hombres mu- 
ertos junto con el rio, el uno con un lazo al pescuezo j el otro 
con otro al pie, esto fue el primero día. Otro día siguiente hal- 
laron otros dos muertos mas adelante de aquellos, el uno destos 
estaba en disposición que se le pudo conocer tener muchas bar- 
bas. Algunos de los nuestros sospecharon mas mal que bien, é 
con razón, porque los indios son todos desbarbados, como dicho 
he. Este puerto está del lugar donde estaba la gente cristiana 
doce leguas : pasados dos días alzamos velas para el lugar donde 
el Almirante habia dejado la sobredicha gente, en compañía de 
un Rey destos indios, que se llamaba Guacamarí, que pienso ser 
de los principales desta isla. Este dia llegamos en derecho de 
aquel lugar ; pero era ya tarde, é porque allí habia unos bajos 
donde el otro dia se habia perdido la nao en que habia ido el AI- 
miraute, no osamos tomar el puerto cerca de tierra fasta que otro 
dia de mañana se desfondase é pudiesen entrar seguramente : 

^ The admiral anchored at the entrance of the harbour of Navidad, 
on Wednesday, the twenty-seventh of November, towards midnight, 
and on the following day put into the harbour. See Herrera, Dec, 1. 
L. 2, cap. viii and ix. 


with great celerity. The admiral believing that he insured 
our safety by keeping the sails set, w^ould not wait for them ; 
they, however, perseveringly rowed up to us within gun- 
shot, and then stopped to look at us ; but when they saw 
that we did not wait for them, they put back and went away. 
After we had anchored that night at the spot in question,^ 
the admiral ordered two guns to be fired, to see if the Spa- 
niards, who had remained with Guacamari, would fire in re- 
turn, for they also had guns with them ; but when we re- 
ceived no reply, and could not perceive any fires, nor the 
slightest symptom of habitations on the spot, the spirits of 
our people became much depressed, and they began to en- 
tertain the suspicion which the circumstances were naturally 
calculated to excite. While all were in this desponding 
mood, and when four or five hours of the night had passed 
away, the same canoe which we had seen in the evening, 
came up, and the Indians with a loud voice addressed the 
captain of the caravel which they first approached, inquiring 

quedamos aquella noche no una legua de tierra. Esa tarde, vini- 
endo para allí de lejos, salió una canoa en que parescian cinco 6 
seis indios, los cuales venían á prisa para nosotros. El Almi- 
rante creyendo que nos seguraba hasta alzarnos, no quiso que los 
esperásemos, é porfiando llegaron hasta un tii'o de lombarda de 
nosotros, é parábanse á mirar, é desde allí desque vieron que no 
los esperábamos dieron vuelta é tornaron su via. Después que 
surgimos en aquel lugar sobredicho tarde, el Almirante mandó 
tirar dos lombardas á ver si respondían los cristianos que habían 
quedado con el dicho Guacamarí, porque también tenían lombar- 
das, los cuales nunca respondieron ni menos parescian huegos ni 
señal de casas en aquel lugar, de lo qual se desconsoló mucho la 
gente é tomaron la sospecha que de tal caso se debía tomar. 
Estando ansí todos muy tristes, pasadas cuatro ó cinco horas de 
la noche, vino la misma canoa que esa tarde habíamos visto, é 
venía dando voces, preguntando por el Almirante un Capitán de 

' The Bay of Caracol, four leagues west of Fort Dauphin, 


for tlie admiral; they were conducted to the admn^aPs vessel, 
but would not go on board till he had spoken to them, and 
they had asked for a light, in order to assure themselves 
that it was he who conversed with them. One of them was 
a cousin of Guacamari, who had been sent by him once be- 
fore : it appeared, that after they had turned back the pre- 
vious evening, they had been charged by Guacamari with 
two masks of gold as a present ; one for the admiral, the 
other for a captain who had accompanied him on the former 
voyage. They remained on board for three hours, talking 
with the admiral in the presence of all of us, he showing 
much pleasure in their conversation, and inquiring respecting 
the welfare of the Spaniards whom he had left behind. 
Guacamari^s cousin replied, that those who remained were 
all well, but that some of them had died of disease, and others 
had been killed in quarrels that had arisen amongst them : 
he said also that the pi'ovince had been invaded, by two 
kings named Caonabo and Mayreni, who had burned the 
habitations of the people ; and that Guacamari was at some 
distance, lying ill of a wound in his leg, which was the occa- 

una carabela donde primero llegaron : trajéronlos á la nao del 
Almirante, los ciiales nunca quisieron entrar hasta que el Almi- 
rante los hablase ; demandaron lumbre para lo conocer, é después 
que lo conocieron entraron. Era uno dellos primo del Guaca- 
mari, el cual los había enviado otra vez. Después que se habían 
tornado aquella tarde traían carátulas de oro que Guacamari en- 
viaba en presente ; la una para el Almirante é la otra para un 
Capitán quel otro viage había ido con él. Estovíeron en la nao 
hablando con el Almirante en presencia de todos por tres horas 
mostrando mucho placer, preguntándoles por los Cristianos que 
tales estaban : aquel pariente dijo que estaban todos buenos, 
aunque entro ellos habia algunos muertos de dolencia é otros de 
diferencia que habia contecido entre ellos, é que Guacamari es- 
taba en otro lugar ferido en uua pierna é por eso no habia venido, 
pero que otro dia vernia ; porque otros dos Reyes, llamado el uno 
Caonabó y el otro Mayrení, habian venido á pelear con él é que 


sion of his not appearing^ but that he would come on the 
next day. The Indians then departed, saying they would 
return on the following day with the said Guacamari, and 
left us consoled for that night. Next morning we looked for 
Guacamari's arrival; and, meanwhile, some of our men landed 
by command of the admiral, and went to the spot where the 
Spaniards had formerly been : they found the building which 
they had inhabited, and which they had in some degree for- 
tified with a palisade, burnt and levelled with the ground ; 
they found also some rags and stuffs which the Indians had 
brought to throw upon the house. They observed too that 
the Indians who were seen near the spot, looked very shy, 
and dared not approach, but, on the contrary, fled from 
them. This we thought did not look well ; for the admiral 
had told us that in the former voyage, when he arrived at 
this place, so many came in canoes to see our people, that 
there was no keeping them off; and as we now noticed that 
they were suspicious of us, it gave us a very unfavourable 
impression. We threw trifles^ such as buttons and beads^ 
towards them, in order to conciliate them, but only four, a 

le habían quemado el logar ; é luego esa noche se tornaron dici- 
endo que otra dia vernian con el dicho Guacamarí, é con esto nos 
dejaron por esa noche consolados. Otro dia en la mañana esto- 
vimos esperando que viniese el dicho Guacamarí, é entretanto 
saltaron en tierra algunos por mandado del Almirante, é fueron 
al lugar donde solían estar, é halláronle quemado un cortijo algo 
fuerte con una palizada, donde los Cristianos habitaban, é tenían 
lo suyo quemado é derribado, é ciertas bernias é ropas que los 
indios habían ti-aido á echar en la casa. Los dichos indios que 
por allí parecían andaban muy cahareños, que no se osaban alle- 
gar á nosotros, antes huían ; lo cual no nos pareció bien porque 
el Almirante nos había dicho que en llegando á quel lugar salían 
tantas canoas dellos á bordo de los navios á vernos que no nos 
podríamos defender dellos, é que en el otro viage ansí lo facían ; 
é como agora veíamos que estaban sospechosos de nosotros no 
nos parecía bien, con todo halagándoles aquel dia é arrojándolos 



relation of Guacamari's and three others, took courage to 
enter the boat, and were rowed on board. When they were 
asked concerning the Spaniards, they rephed that all of 
them were dead : we had been told this already by one of 
the Indians whom we had brought from Spain, and who had 
conversed with the two Indians that on the former occasion 
came on board with their canoe, but we had not believed it. 
Guacamari^s kinsman was asked who had killed them : he 
replied that king Caonabó and king Mayreni had made an 
attack upon them, and burnt the buildings on the spot, 
that many were wounded in the affray, and among them 
Guacamari, who had received a wound in his thigh, and had 
retired to some distance : he also stated that he wished to 
go and fetch him ; upon which some trifles were given to 
him, and he took his departure for the place of Guacamari^s 
abode. All that day we remained in expectation of them, 
and when we saw that they did not come, many suspected 
that the Indians who had been on board the night before, 
had been drowned ; for they had had wine given them two 
or three times, and they had come in a small canoe that 

algunas cosas, ansí como cascabeles é cuentas, hobo de asegurarse 
un su pariente del dicho Guacamarí é otros tres, los cuales en- 
traron en la barca é trajéronlos á la nao. Después que le pre- 
guntaron por los Cristianos dijeron que todos eran muertos, aun- 
que ya nos lo había dicho un indio de los que llevábamos de 
Castilla que lo hablan hablado los dos indios que antes hablan 
venido á la nao, que se hablan quedado, á bordo de la nao con su 
canao, pero lo ne hablamos creido. Fue preguntado á este pari- 
ente do Guacamai"í quien los había muerto : dijo que el Rey de 
Canoabó y el Rey Mayrení, é que le quemaron las cosas del lugar, 
que estaban dellos muchos heridos, é también el dicho Guaca- 
marí estaba pasado un muslo, y él que estaba en otro lugar y que 
él quería ir luego allá á lo llamar, al cual dieron algunas cosas, é 
luego se partió para donde estaba Guacamarí. Todo aquel dia 
los estobimos esperando, é desque vimos que no venían, muchos 
tenían sospecha que se habían ahogado los indios que antenoche 


might be easily upset. The next morning the admiral went 
on shore^ taking some of us with him ; we went to the spot 
where the settlement had been, and found it utterly de- 
stroyed by fire, and the clothes of the Spaniards lying about 
upon the grass, but on that occasion we saw no dead body. 
There were many different opinions amongst us ; some sus- 
pecting that Guacamari himself was concerned in the be- 
trayal and death of the Christians ; others thought not, be- 
cause his own residence was burnt : so that it remained a 
very doubtful question. The admiral ordered all the ground 
which had been occupied by the fortifications of the Spa- 
niards to be searched, for he had left orders with them to 
bury all the gold that they might get. While this was being 
done, the admiral wished to examine a spot at about a 
league's distance, which seemed to be suitable for building 
a town, for there was yet time to do so ; — and some of us 
went thither with him, making our observations of the land 
as we went along the coast, until we reached a village of 
seven or eight houses, which the Indians forsook when they 

habían venido, porque los habían dado á beber dos ó tres veces 
de vino, é venían en una canoa pequeña que se los podría trastor- 
nar. Otro día de mañana salió á tierra el Almirante é algunos 
de nosotros, é fuemos donde solía estar la villa, la cual nos vimos 
toda quemada é los vestidos de los cristianos se hallaban por 
aquella yerba. Por aquella hora no vimos ningún muerto. Había 
entre nosotros muchas razones diferentes, unos sospechando que 
el mismo Guacamarí fuese en la traición ó muerte de los Cristia- 
nos, otros les parecía que no, pues estaba quemada su villa, ansí 
que la cosa era mucho para dudar. El Almirante mandó catar 
todo* el sitio donde los Cristianos estaban fortalecidos porquel los 
había mandado que desque tovíesen alguna cantidad de oro que 
lo enterrasen. Entretanto que esto se hacía quiso llegar á ver á 
cerca de una legua do nos parecía que podría haber asiento para 
poder edificar una villa porque ya era tiempo, adonde fuimos 
ciertos con él mirando la tierra por la costa, fasta que llegamos á 
un poblado donde había siete ú ocho casas ; las quales habían 



saw US approacli, carrying away what they could^ and leaving 
the things which they could not remove, hidden amongst 
the grass, around the houses. These people are so degraded 
that they have not even the sense to select a fitting place to 
live in ; those who dwell on the shore, build for themselves 
the most miserable hovels that can be imagined, and all the 
houses are so covered with grass and dampness, that I won- 
der how they can contrive to exist. In these houses we 
found many things belonging to the Spaniards, which it 
could not be supposed they would have bartered ; such as a 
very handsome Moorish mantle, which had not been un- 
folded since it was brought from Spain, stockings and pieces 
of cloth, also an anchor belonging to the ship which the ad- 
miral had lost here on the previous voyage ; with other 
articles, which the more confirmed our suspicions. On ex- 
amining some things which had been very cautiously sewn 
up in a small basket, we found a man^s head wrapped up 
with great care ; this we judged might be the head of a 
father, or mother, or of some person whom they much re- 
garded : I have since heard that many were found in the 

desamparado los indios luego que nos vieron ir, é llevaron lo que 
pudieron é lo otro dejaron escondido entre yerbas junto con las 
casas, que es gente tan bestial que no tienen discreción para 
buscar lugar para habitar, que los que viven á la marina es ma- 
ravilla cuan bestialmente edifican, que las casas enderedor tienen 
tan cubiertas de yerba ó de humidad, que estoy espantado como 
viven. En aquellas casas hallamos muchas cosas de los Cris- 
tianos, las cuales no se creian que ellos hobiesen rescatado, ansí 
como una almalafa muy gentil, la cual no se habia descogido de 
como la llevaron de Castilla, é calzas é pedazos de paños, é una 
ancla de la nao quel Almirante habia allí perdido el otro viage, é 
otras cosas, de las cuales mas se esforzó nuestra opinion ; y de 
acá hallamos, buscando las cosas que tenían guardadas en una 
esportilla mucho cosida é rauclio á recabdo, una cabeza de hom- 
bre mucho guardada. Allí juzgamos por entonces que seria la 
cabeza de padre ó madre, ó de persona que mucho querían. Des- 


same state^ which makes me beheve that our first impres- 
siou was the true one. After this we returned. We went 
on the same day to the site of the settlement ; and when we 
arrived, we found many Indians, who had regained their 
courage, bartering gold with our men : they had bartered 
to the extent of a mark : we also learned that they had shown 
where the bodies of eleven of the dead Spaniards were laid, 
which were already covered with the grass that had grown 
over them ; and they all with one voice asserted that Cao- 
nabo and Mayreni had killed them; but notwithstanding all 
this, we began to hear complaints that one of the Spaniards 
had taken three women to himself, and another four, from 
whence we drew the inference that jealousy was the cause 
of the misfortune that had occurred. On the next morning, 
as no spot in that vicinity appeared suitable for our making 
a settlement, the admiral ordered a caravel to go in one 
direction to look for a convenient locality, while some of us 
went with him another way. In the course of our explora- 
tions, we discovered a harbour of great security ; the neigh- 
bourhood of which, so far as regarded the formation of the 

pues he oido que hayan hallado muchas desta manera, por donde 
creo ser verdad lo que allí juzgamos ; desde allí nos tornamos. 
Aquel dia venimos por donde estaba la villa, y cuando llegamos 
hallamos muchos indios que se habían asegurado y estaban res- 
catando oro : tenían rescatado fasta un marco : hallamos que 
habían mostrado donde estaban muertos once cristianos, cubier- 
tos ya de la yerba que había crecido sobre ellos, é todos hablaban 
por una boca que Caonabó é Mayrení les habían muerto ; pero 
con todo eso asomaban queja que los Cristianos uno tenia tres 
mugeres, otro cuatro, donde creemos quel mal que les vino fue 
de zelos. Otro día de mañana, porque en todo aquello no había 
logar dispuesto para nosotros poder hacer asiento, acordó el Al- 
mirante fuese una carabela á una parte para mirar lugar conve- 
niente, é algunos que fuimos con él fuimos á otra parte, á do hal- 
lamos un puerto muy seguro é muy gentil disposición de tierra 
para habitar, pero porque estaba lejos de donde nos deseábamos 


land, was excellent for habitation ; but as it was far from 
any mine of gold, the proximity of which was very de- 
sirable, the admiral decided that we should settle in some 
spot which would give us greater certainty of attaining that 
object, provided the position of the land should prove equally 
convenient. On our return, we found the other caravel 
arrived, in which Melchior and four or five other trustworthy 
men had been exploring with a similar object. They reported 
that as they went along the coast, a canoe came out to them 
containing two Indians, one of whom was the brother of 
Guacamari, and was recognised by a pilot who was in the 
caravel. When he questioned them as to their purpose, 
they replied that Guacamari sent to beg the Spaniards to 
come on shore, as he was residing near, with as many as 
fifty families around him. The chief men of the party then 
went on shore in the boat, and proceeding to the place 
where Guacamari was, found him stretched on his bed, com- 
plaining of a severe wound. They conferred with him, and 
inquired respecting the Spaniards ; his reply was in accord- 
ance with the account already given by the others, viz. — 
that they had been killed by Caonabó and Mayreni, who 

que estaba la mina de oro, no acordó el Almirante de poblar sino 
en otra parte que fuese mas cierta si se hallase conveniente dis- 
posición. Cuando venimos deste lugar hallamos venida la otra 
carabela que había ido á la otra parte á buscar el dicho lugar 
en la cual habió ido Melchior e otros cuatro ó cinco hombres 
de pro. E yendo costeando por tierra salió á ellos una canoa en que 
venian dos indios, el uno era hermano de Guacamari, el cual fue 
conocido por un piloto que iba en la dicha carabela, é preguntó 
quien iba allí, al cual, dijeron los hombres principales, dijeron que 
Guacamari les rogaba que se llegasen á tierra, donde él tenía su 
asiento con fasta cincuenta casas. Los dichos prencipales salta- 
ron en tierra con la barca é fueron donde él estaba, el cual falla- 
ron en su cama echado faciendo del doliente ferido. Fablaron 
con él preguntándole por los Cristianos : respondió concertando 
con la mesma razón de los otros, que era que Caonabó é Mayreni 


also had wounded him in the thigh. In confirmation of 
his assertion, he showed them the limb bound up, on 
seeing which, they concluded that his statement was correct. 
At their departure he gave to each of them a jewel of gold, 
according to his estimate of their respective merits. The 
Indians beat the gold into very thin plates, in order to 
make masks of it, and set it in a cement which they make 
for that purpose. Other ornaments they make of it, to wear 
on the head and to hang in the ears and nostrils, and for 
these also they require it to be thin. It is not the costliness 
of the gold that they value in their ornaments, but its 
showy appearance. Guacamari desired them by signs as well 
as he was able, to tell the admiral that as he was thus 
wounded, he prayed him to have the goodness to come to 
see him. The sailors told this to the admiral when he 
arrived, and he resolved to go the next morning, for the 
spot could be reached in three hours, being scarcely three 
leagues distance from the place where we were ; but as it 
would be the dinner-hour when we arrived, we dined be- 
fore we went on shore. After dinner, the admiral gave 

los habían mtierto, é que á él habían feríelo en un muslo, el cual 
mostró ligado : los que entonces lo vieron ansí les pareció que era 
verdad como él lo dijo : al tiempo del despedirse díó á cada uno 
dellos una joya de oro, á cada uno como le pareció que lo meres- 
cía. Este oro facían en fojas muy delgadas, porque lo quieren 
para facer carátulas é para poderse asentar en betún que ellos 
facen, sí así no fuese no se asentaría. Otro facen para traer en 
la cabeza é para colgar en las orejas é narices, ansí que todavía 
es menester que sea delgado, pues que ellos nada desto hacen por 
riqueza salvo por buen parecer. Dijo el dicho Guacamarí por 
señas e como mejor pudo, que porque él estaba ansí herido que 
dijesen al Almirante que quisiese venir á verlo. Luego quel Al- 
mirante llegó los sobredichos le contaron este caso. Otro día de 
mañana acordó partir para allá, al cual lugar llegaríamos dentro 
de tres horas, porque apenas habría dende donde estábamos allá 
tres leguas ; ansí que cuando allí llegamos era hora de comer ^ 


orders that all the captains should come with their barges 
to proceed to the shore^ for already on that morning, pre- 
vious to our departure^ the aforesaid brother of Guacamari 
had come to speak to the admiral to urge his visit. Then 
the admiral went on shore accompanied by all the principal 
officers, so richly dressed that they would have made a dis- 
tinguished appearance even in any of our chief cities : he 
took with him some articles as presents, having already re- 
ceived from Guacamari a certain quantity of gold^ and it 
was reasonable that he should make a commensurate re- 
sponse to his acts and expressions of goodwill : Guacamari 
had also provided himself with a present. When we arrived, 
we found him stretched upon his bed, which was made of 
cotton net-work, and^ according to their custom, suspended.^ 
He did not arise, but from his bed made the best gesture of 
courtesy of which he was capable. He showed much feehng ; 
with tears in his eyes lamented the death of the Spaniards, and 
began by explaining to the best of his power^ how some died 
of disease, others had gone to Caonabo in seai-ch of the mine 
of gold^ and had there been killed, and that the rest had 

comimos ante de salir en tierra. Luego que bobimos comido 
mandó el Almirante que todos los Capitanes viniesen, con sus 
barcas para ir en tierra, porque ya esa mañana antes que parti- 
ésemos de donde estábamos habia venido el sobredicho su her- 
mano á hablar con el Almirante, é á darle priesa que fuese al 
lugar donde estaba el dicho Guacamari. Allí fue el Almirante á 
tierra é toda la gente de pro con él, tan ataviados que en una 
cibdad prencipal parecieran bien : llevó algunas cosas para le 
presentar porque ya habia recibido del alguna cantidad de oro, é 
era razón le respondiese con la obra é voluntad quel liabia mos- 
trado. El dicho Guacamari ansí mismo tenia aparejado para 
hacerle presente. Cuando llegamos hallárnosle echado en su cama, 
como ellos lo usan, colgado en el aire, fecha una cama de algodón 
como de red ; no se levantó, salvo dende la cama hizo el sem- 
blante de cortesía como él mejor sopo, mostró mucho sentimiento 
con lágrimas en los ojos por la muerte de los Cristianos, é co- 
' This is the earliest mention of a hammock. 


been attacked and slain in their own town. According to 
the appearance of the dead bodies^ it was not two months 
since this had happened. He then presented the admiral 
with eight marks and a half of gold, five or six hundred 
pieces of jewellery of various colours, and a cap with similar 
jewel-work, which I think they must value very highly, 
because in it was a jewel which was presented with great 
reverence. It appears to me that these people put more 
value upon copper than gold. The surgeon of the fleet and 
myself being present, the admiral told Guacamari that we 
were skilled in the treatment of human disorders, and wished 
that he would shew us his wound. He replied that he was 
willing ; upon which I said it would be necessary that he 
should, if possible, go out of the house, because we could 
not see well on account of the place being darkened by the 
throng of people ; to this he consented, I think more from 
timidity than inclination, and left the house leaning on the 
arm of the admiral. After he was seated, the surgeon ap- 
proached him and began to untie his bandage ; then he told 

raenzó á hablar en ello mostrando, como mejor podía, como unos 
murieron de dolencia, é como otros se habían ido á Caonabó á 
buscar la mina del oro é que allí los habían muerto, é los otros 
que se los habían venido á matar allí en su villa. A lo que jiare- 
cian los cuerpos de los muertos no había dos meses que había 
acaecido. Esa hora el presentó al Almirante ocho marcos y me- 
dio de oro, é cinco ó seiscientos labrados de pedrería de diversos 
colores, é un bonete de la misma pedrería, lo cual me parece de- 
ben tener ellos en mucho. En el bonete estaba un joyel, lo cual 
le dio en mucha veneración. Paraceme que tienen en mas el 
cobre quel oro. Estábamos presentes yo y un zurugiano de ar- 
mada ; entonces dijo el Almirante al dicho Guacamarí que noso- 
tros eramos sabios de las enfermedades de los hombres que nos 
quisiese mostrar la herida : él respondió que le placía, para lo 
cual yo dije que sería necesario, si pudiese, que saliese fuera de 
casa, porque con la mucha gente estaba escura é no se podría ver 
bien ; lo cual él fizo luego, creo mas de empacho que de gana ; 


the admiral that the wound was made with a ciha, by which 
he meant with a stone. When the wound was uncovered, 
we went up to examine it : it is certain that there was no 
more wound on that leg than on the other, although he cun- 
ningly pretended that it pained him much. Ignorant as we 
were of the facts, it was impossible to come to a definite 
conclusion. There were certainly many proofs of an inva- 
sion by a hostile people, so that the admiral was at a loss 
what to do. He with many others thought, however, that 
for the present, and until they could ascertain the truth, 
they ought to conceal their distrust ; for, after ascertaining 
it, they would be able to claim whatever indemnity they 
thought proper. That evening Gruacamari accompanied the 
admiral to the ships, and when they showed him the horses 
and other objects of interest, their novelty struck him with 
the greatest amazement : he took supper on board, and re- 
turned that evening to his house. The admiral told him 
that he wished to settle there and to build houses ; to which 
he assented, but said that the place was not wholesome, be- 
cause it was very damp : and so it most certainly was. 

arrimándose á el salió fuera. Después de asentado, llego el 
zurugiano á él é comenzó de desligarle : entonces dijo al Almi- 
rante que era ferida fecha con ciba, que quiere decir con piedra. 
Después que fue desatada llegamos á tentarle. Es cierto que no 
tenia mas mal en aquella que en la otra, aunque él hacia del 
raposo que le dolía mucho. Ciertamente no se podia bien deter- 
minar porque las razones eran ignotas, que ciertamente muchas 
cosas había que mostraban haber venido á él gente contraría. 
Ausímesmo el Almirante no sabia que se hacer : parescíóle, é á 
otros muchos, que por entonces fasta bien saber la verdad que se 
debía disimular, porque después de sabida, cada que quisiesen, se 
podía del recibir enmienda. E aquella tarde se vino con el Al- 
mirante á las naos, é mostráronle caballos é cuanto ahí había, de 
lo cual quedó muy maravillado como de cosa estraña á él ; tomó 
colación en la nao, é esa tarde luego se tornó á su casa : el Al- 
mirante dijo que quería ir á habitar allí con él é quería facer 


All this passed tlirougli . tlie interpretation of two of 
the Indians who had gone to Spain in the last voyage, 
and who were the sole survivors of seven that had embarked 
with us ; five died on the voyage, and these but narrowly 
escaped. The next day we anchored in that port : Guacam- 
ari sent to know when the admiral intended leaving, and 
was told that he should do so on the morrow. The same 
day Guacamari's brother, and others with him, came on 
board, bringing gold to barter : on the day of our departure 
also they bartered a great quantity of gold. There were 
ten women on board, of those which had been taken in the 
Caribbee islands, principally from Burenquen, and it was 
observed that the brother of Guacamari spoke with them ; 
we think that he told them to make an effort to escape that 
night; for certainly during our first sleep they dropped 
themselves quietly into the water, and went on shore, so 
that by the time they were missed they had reached such a 
distance that only four could be taken by the boats which 
went in pursuit, and these were secured when just leaving 

casas, y él respondió que le placía, pero que el lugar era mal sano 
porque era muy húmido, é tal era él por cierto. Esto todo pasaba 
estando por intérpretes dos indios de los que el otro viage habían 
ido á Castilla, los cuales babían quedado vivos de siete que me- 
timos en el puerto, que los cinco se murieron en el camino, los 
cuales escaparon á uña de caballo. Otro dia estuvimos surtos en 
aquel puerto ; é quiso saber cuando se partiría el Almirante : le 
mandó decir que otro día. En aquel dia vinieron á la nao el 
sobredicho hermano suyo é otros con él, é trajeron algún oro para 
rescatar. Ansí mesmo el dia que allá salimos se rescató buena 
cantidad de oro. En la nao había diez mugeres de las que se 
babían tomado en las islas de Caríby ; eran las mas dellas de 
Boríquen. Aquel hermano de Guacamarí habló con ellas : cree- 
mos que les dijo lo que luego esa noche pusieron por obra y es 
que al primer sueño muy mansamente se echaron al agua é se 
fueron á tierra, de manera que cuando fueron falladas menos iban 
tanto trecho que cou las barcas no pudieron tomar mas de las 


tlie water : they liad to swim considerably more than half a 
leasrue. The next morning the admiral sent to desire that 
Guacamari would cause search to be made for the women 
who had escaped in the nighty and that he would send them 
back to the ships. When the messengers arrived they 
found the place forsaken and not a soul there ; this made 
many openly declare their suspicions, but others said they 
might have removed to another village, as was their custom. 
That day we remained quiet, because the weather was un- 
favourable for our departure. On the next morning the 
admiral resolved that as the wind was adverse, it would be 
well to go with the boats to inspect a harbour on the coast at 
two leagues distance further up,^ to see if the formation of 
the land was favourable for a settlement ; and we went 
thither with all the ship's boats, leaving the ships in the 
harbour. As we moved along the coast the people mani- 
fested a sense of insecurity, and when we reached the . spot 
to which we were bound all the natives had fled. While we 
were walking about this place we found an Indian stretched 

cuatro, las cuales tomaron al salir del agua ; fueron nadando mas 
de una gran media legua. Otro dia de mañana envió el Almi- 
rante á decir á Guacamarí que le enviase aquellas mugeres que 
la noche antes se babian huido, é que luego las mandase buscar. 
Cuando fueren hallaron el lugar despoblado, que no estaba per- 
sona en el : ahí tornaron muchos fuerte á afirmar su sospecha, 
otros decían que se habría mudado á otra población quell os ansí 
lo suelen hacer. Aquel día estovímos allí quedos por que el ti- 
empo era contrarío para salir : otro dia de mañana acordó el Al- 
mirante, pues que el tiempo era contrarío, que seria bien ir con 
las barcas á ver un puerto la costa arriba, fasta el cual habría 
dos leguas, para ver sí habría dispusicion de tierra para hacer 
habitación ; donde fuemos con todas las barcas de los navios de- 
jando los navios en el puerto. Fuimos corriendo toda la costa, 
6 también estos no se seguraban bien de nosotros ; llegamos á 
un lugar de donde todos eran huidos. Andando por él fallamos 
junto con las casas, metido en el monte, un indio ferído de una 
* Port Dauphin. 


on the hill-side, close by the houses, with a gaping wound 
in his shoulder caused by a dart, so that he had been dis- 
abled from fleeing any further. The natives of this island 
fight with sharp darts, which they discharge from cross-bows 
in the same manner as boys in Spain shoot their small 
arrows, and which they send with considerable skill to a 
great distance ; and certainly upon an unarmed people these 
weapons are calculated to do serious injury. The man told 
us that Caonabo and his people had wounded him and burnt 
the houses of Guacamari. Thus we are still kept in uncer- 
tainty respecting the death of our people, on account of the 
paucity of information on which to form an opinion, and the 
conflicting and equivocal character of the evidence we have 
obtained. We did not find the position of the land in this 
port favourable for healthy habitation, and the admiral 
resolved upon returning along the upper coast by which we 
had come from Spain, because we had had tidings of gold 
in that direction. But the weather was so adverse that it 
cost more labour to sail thirty leagues in a backward direc- 
tion than the whole voyage from Spain ; so that, what with 

vara, de una ferida que resollaba por las espaldas, que no había 
podido huir mas lejos. Los desta isla pelean con unas varas 
agudas, las cuales tiran con unas tiranderas como las que tiran 
los mochachos las varillas en Castilla, con las cuales tiran muy 
lejos asaz certero. Es cierto que para gente desarmada que pueden 
hacer harto daño. Este nos dijo que Caonabó é los suyos lo habían 
ferido, é habían quemado las casas á Guacaraarí. Ansí quel poco 
entender que los entendemos é las razones equívocas nos han 
traído á todos tan afuscados que fasta agora no se ha podido 
saber la verdad de la muerte de nuestra gente, é no hallamos en 
aquel puerto dispusicíon saludable parer hacer habitación. Acor- 
dó el Almirante nos tornásemos por la costa arriba por do había- 
mos venido de Castilla, porque la nueva del oro era fasta allá. 
Fuenes el tiempo contrario, que mayor pena nos fue tornar tre- 
inta leguas atrás que venir desde Castilla, que con el tiempo con- 
trario é la largueza del camino ya eran tres meses pasados cuando 


the contrary wind and the length of the passage, three 
months had elapsed before we set foot on land. It pleased 
God, however, that through the check upon our progress 
caused by contrary winds, we succeeded in finding the best 
and most suitable spot that we could have selected for a 
settlement, where there was an excellent harbour^ and 
abundance of fish, an article of which we stood in great 
need from the scarcity of meat. The fish caught here are 
very singular and more wholesome than those of Spain. 
The climate does not allow the fish to be kept from one day 
to another, for all animal food speedily becomes unwhole- 
some, on account of the alternate heat and damp. 

The land is very rich for all purposes. Near the harbour 
there are two rivers ; one large,^ and another of moderate 
breadth somewhat near it : the water is of a very remark- 
able quality. On the bank of it is being built a city called 
Marta,^ one side of which is bounded by the water with a 
ravine of cleft rock, so that at that part there is no need of 
fortification ; the other half is girt with a plantation of trees 

decendimos en tierra. Plugo á nuestro Señor que por la contra- 
riedad del tiempo que no nos dejó ir mas adelante, hobimos de 
tomar tierra en el mejor sitio y dispusicion que pudiéramos es- 
coger, donde hay mucho buen puerto é grrn pesquería, de la cual 
tenemos mucha necesidad por el carecimiento do las carnes. 
Hay en esta tierra muy singular pescado mas sano quel de Es- 
paña. Verdad sea que la tierra no consiente que se guarde de 
un día para otro porque es caliente é húmida, é por ende luego 
las cosas introfatibles ligeramente se corrompen. La tierra es 
muy gruesa para todas cosas ; tiene junto un rio prencipal é otro 
razouable, asaz cerca de muy singular agua : edificase sobre la 
ribera del una cibdad Marta, junto quel lugar se deslinda con el 
agua, de manera que la metad de la cibdad queda cercada de 
agua con una barranca de peña tajada, tal que por allí no ha me- 
nester defensa ninguna ; la otra metad está cercada de una arbo- 

1 Port Isabelique, or Isabella, ten leagues to the east of Monte Christi. 
- The river Isabella. ^ The infant city of Isabella, 


SO thick that a rabbit could scarcely pass through it ; and so 
green that fire will never be able to burn it. A channel has 
been commenced for a branch of the rivei% which the 
managers say they will lead through the middle of the 
settlement, and will place on it mills of all kinds requiring 
to be worked by water. Great quantities of vegetables 
have been planted, which certainly attain a more luxuriant 
growth here in eight days than they would in Spain in 
twenty. We were frequently visited by numbers of Indians, 
among whom were some of their caciques or chiefs, and 
many women. They all came loaded with ages,^ a sort of 
turnip, very excellent for food, which we dressed in various 
ways. This food was so nutritious as to prove a great 
support to all of us after the privations we endured when at 
sea, which in truth were more severe than ever were suffered 
by man ; and as we could not tell what weather it would 
please God to send us on our voyage, we were obliged to 
limit ourselves most rigorously with regard to food, in order 
that, at all events, we might at least have the means of 

leda espesa que apenas podrá un conejo andar por ella ; es tan 
verde que en ningún tiempo del mundo fuego la podrá quemar : 
hase comenzado á traer un brazo del rio, el cual dicen los maes- 
tros que trairán por medio del lugar, é asentarán en él moliendas 
é sierras de agua, é cuanto se pudiere hacer con agua. Han 
sembrado mucha hortaliza, la cual es cierto que crece mas en 
ocho dias que en España en veinte. Vienen aquí continuamente 
muchos indios é caciques con ellos, que son como capitanes del- 
los, é muchas indias : todos vienen cargados de ages, que son 
como nabos, muy excelente manjar, de los cuales facemos acá 
muchas maneras de manjares en cualquier manera ; es tanto 
cordial manjar que nos tiene á todos muy consolados, porque de 
verdad la vida que se trajo por la mar ha seido la mas estrecha 
que nunca hombres pasaron, é fue ansí necesario porque no sabí- 
amos que tiempo nos haría, ó cuanto permitiría Dios que estoví- 
esemos en el camino ; ansí que fue cordura estrecharnos, porque 

' Yauís. 


supporting life : this age the Caribbees call nabl, and the 
Indians hage. The Indians barter gold, provisions, and 
every thing they bring with them, for tags of laces, beads, 
and pins, and pieces of porringers and dishes. They all, as 
I have said, go naked as they were born, except the women 
of this island, who some of them wear a covering of cotton, 
which they bind round their hips, while others use grass 
and leaves of trees. When they wish to appear fuUdressed, 
both men and women paint themselves, some black, others 
white and various colours, in so many devices that the effect 
is very laughable : they shave some parts of their heads, and 
in others wear long tufts of matted hair, which have an 
indescribably ridiculous appearance : in short, whatever 
would be looked upon in our country as charaeteristic of a 
madman, is here regarded by the highest of the Indians as 
a mark of distinction. 

In our present position, we are in the neighbourhood of 
many mines of gold, not one of which, we are told, is more 
than twenty or twentj^-five leagues off : the Indians say that 
some of them are in Niti, in the possession of Caonabó, 

cualquier tiempo que viniera pudiéramos conservar la vida. Res- 
catan el oro é mantenimientos é todo lo que traen por cabos de 
agujetas, por cuentas, por alfileres, por pedasos de escudillas é de 
plateles. A este age llaman los de Caribi ncibi, é los indios liage. 
Toda esta gente, como dicho tengo, andan como nacieron, salvo 
las mugeres de esta isla traen cubiertas sus vergüenzas, dellos con 
ropa de algodón que les ciñen las caderas, otras con yerbas é 
fojas de árboles. Sus galas dellos é dellas es pintarse, unos de 
negro, otros de blanco é colorado, de tantos visajes que en verlos 
es bien cosa de reir ; las cabezas rapadas en logares, é en logares 
con vedijas de tantas maneras que no se podría escrebir. En 
conclusion, que todo lo que allá en nuestra España quieren hacer 
en la cabeza de un loco ; acá el mejor dellos vos lo terna en 
mucha merced. Aquí estamos en comarca de muchas minas de 
ora, que según lo que ellos dicen no hay cada una dellas de ve- 
inte ó veinte é cinco leguas : las unas dicen que son en Niti, en 


wlio killed tlie Christians ; the others are in another place 
called CibaOj which, if it please God, we shall see with our 
eyes before many days are over ; indeed we should go there 
at once, but that we have so many things to provide that we 
are not equal to it at present. One third of our people have 
fallen sick within the last four or five days, which I think 
has principally arisen from the toil and privations of the 
journey ; another cause has been the variableness of the 
climate ; but I hope in our Lord that all will be restored to 
health. My idea of this people is, that if we could con- 
verse with them, they would all become converted, for they 
do whatever they see us do, making genuflections to the 
altars, and at the Ave Maria and the other parts of the 
devotional service, and making the sign of the cross. They 
all say that they wish to be Christians, although in truth 
they are idolaters, for in their houses they have many kinds 
of figures : when asked what such a figure was, they would 
reply it is a thing of Tiirey, by which they meant " of 
Heaven." I made a pretence of throwing them on the fire, 
which grieved them so that they began to weep : they 

poder de Caonabó, aquel que mató los cristianos ; otras hay en 
otra parte que se llama Cibao, las cuales, si place á nuestro 
Señor, sabremos é veremos con los ojos antes que pasen muchos 
dias, porque agora se ficiera sino porque hay tantas cosas de pro- 
veer que no bastamos para todo, porque la gente ha adolecido en 
cuatro ó cinco dias el tercio della, creo la mayor causa dello ha 
seido el trabajo é mala pasada del camino : allende de la diversi- 
dad de la tierra ; pero espero en nuestro Señor que todos se 
levantarán con salud. Lo que parece desta gente es que si lengua 
toviesemos que todos se couvertirian, porque cuanto nos veen 
facer tanto facen, en hincar las rodillas á los altares, é al Ave 
Maria, é á las otras devociones 6 santiguarse : todos dicen que 
quieren ser cristianos, puesto que verdaderamente son idólatras, 
porque en sus casas hay figuras de muchas maneras ; yo les he 
preguntado que es aquello, dicenme que es cosa de Tureij, que 
quiere decir del cielo. To acometí á querer echárselos en el fuego 



believe tliat everything we bring coraes from heaven^ and 
therefore call it Tureij, whicli^ as I have already said^ means 
heaven in their language. The first day that I went on 
shore to sleep, was the Lord's day. The little time that we 
have spent on land, has been so much occupied in seeking 
for a fitting spot for the settlement, and in providing 
necessaries, that we have had little opportunity of becom- 
ing acquainted with the productions of the soil, yet although 
the time has been so short, many marvellous things have 
been seen. We have met with trees bearing wool, of a 
sufficiently fine quality (according to the opinion of those 
who are acquainted with the art) to be woven into good 
cloth ; there are so many of these trees that we might load 
the caravels with wool, although it is troublesome to collect, 
for the trees are very thorny,^ but some means may be 
easily found of overcoming this difficulty. There are also 
cotton trees as large as peach trees, which produce cotton 
in the greatest abundance. We found trees producing wax 
as good both in colour and smell as bees-wax and equally 

é haciaseles de mal que querían llorar : pero ansi piensan que 
cuanto nosotros traemos que es cosa del cielo, que á todo llaman 
Turey, que quiere decir cielo. El día que yo salí á dormir en tierra 
fue el primero dia del Señor : el poco tiempo que habernos gastado 
en tierra ha seido mas en hacer donde nos metamos, é buscar las 
cosas necessarias, que en saber las cosas que hay en la tierra, pero 
aunque ha sido poco se lian visto cosas bien de maravillar, que se 
han visto árboles que llevan lana y harto fina, tal que los que 
saben del arte dicen que podrán hacer buenos paños dellos. Destos 
árboles hay tantos que se podrán cargar las carabelas de la lana, 
aunque es trabajosa de coger, porque los árboles son muy espinosos; 
pero bien se puede hallar ingenio para la coger. Hay infinito 
algodón de árboles perpetuos tan grandes como duraznos. Hay 
árboles que llevau cera en color y en sabor, é en arder tan buena 
como la de abejas, tal que no hay diferencia mucha de la una á la 
otra. Hay infinitos árboles de trementina muy singular é muy 
^ A species of the natural ovAqv Bombace<x ; perhaps the Eriodendron 


useful for burning, indeed there is no great difference 
between tliera. There are vast numbers of trees which 
yield surprisingly fine turpentine, and a great abundance of 
tragacanth, also very good. We found other trees which I 
think bear nutmegs, because the bark tastes and smells like 
that spice, but at present there is no fruit on them ;^ I saw 
one root of ginger, which an Indian wore hanging round 
his neck. There were also aloes ; not like those which we 
have hitherto seen in Spain, bat no doubt they are of the 
same kind as those used by our doctors.^ A sort of cinnamon 
also has been found ; but, to speak the truth, it is not so 
fine as that with which we are already acquainted in Spain. 
I do not know whether this arises from ignorance of the 
proper season to gather it, or whether the soil does not pro- 
duce better. We have also seen some yellow mirabolans ; 
at this season they are all lying under the trees, and have a 
bitter flavour, arising, I think, from the rottenness occasioned 

fina. Hay mucho alquitira, también muy buena. Hay árboles 
que pienso que llevan nueces moscadas, salvo que agora están sin 
fruto, é digo que lo pienso porque el sabor y olor de la corteza es 
como de nueces moscadas. Vi una raiz de gengibre que la traía 
un indio colgada al cuello. Hay también lináloe, aunque no es de 
la manera del que fasta agora se ha visto en nuestras partes ; 
pero no es de dudar que sea una de las especias de lináloes que 
los dotores ponemos. También se ha hallado una manera de canela, 
verdad es que no es tan fina como la que allá se ha visto, no 
sabemos si por ventura lo hace el defeto de saberla coger en sus 
tiempos como se ha de coger, ó si por ventura la tierra no la lleva 
mejor. También se ha hallado mirabolanos cetrinos, salvo que 
agora no están sino debajo del árbol, como la tierra es muy húmida 

^ Tliese were'probably trees of the laurel tribe, the bark of which is 
generally spicy like cinnamon. The cinnamon mentioned below was 
probably also one of these and not true cinnamon. 

2 Barbadoes aloes, still considered as of inferior quality to those of 



by tlie moisture of tlie ground ; but the taste of such parts 
as have remained sound, is that of the genuine mirabolan. 
There is also very good mastic. None of the natives of 
these islands, as far as we have yet seen, possess any iron; 
they have, however, many tools, such as hatchets and axes, 
made of stone, which are so handsome and well finished, that 
it is wonderful how they contrive to make them without the 
use of iron. Their food consists of bread, made of the roots 
of a vegetable which is between a tree and a vegetable, and 
the age, which I have already described as being like the 
turnip, and very good food -, they use, to season it, a spice 
called agi, which they also eat with fish and such birds as 
they can catch of the many kinds which abound in the island. 
They have, besides, a kind of grain like hazel-nuts, very 
good to eat. They eat all the snakes, and lizards, and spiders, 
and worms, that they find upon the ground ; so that, to my 
fancy, their bestiality is greater than that of any beast upon 
the face of the earth. The admiral had at one time deter- 
mined to leave the search for the mines until he had first 

estan podridos, tienen el sabor mucho amargo, yo creo sea del 
podrimiento ; pero todo lo otro, salvo el sabor que está corrompido, 
es de mirabolanos verdadei'os. Hay también almástica muy 
buena. Todas estas gentes destas islas, que fasta agora se han 
visto, no poseen fierro ninguno. Tienen muchas ferramientas, 
ansi como hachas é azuelas hechas de piedra tan gentiles é tan 
labradas que es maravilla como sin fierro se pueden hacer. El 
mantenimiento suyo es pan hecho de raices de una yei'ba que es 
entre árbol é yerba, é el age, de que ya tengo dicho que es como 
nabos, que es muy buen mantenimiento : tienen por especia, por 
lo adobar, una especia que se llama agi, con la cual comen también 
el pescado, como aves cuando las pueden haber, que hay infinitas 
de muchas maneras. Tienen otrosí unos granos como avellanas, 
muy buenos de comer. Comen cuantas culebras ó lagartos 6 
arañas é cuantos gusanos se hallan por el suelo ; ansi que me 


dispatched tlie ships which were to return to Spain^ on 
account of the great sickness which had prevailed among the 
men, but afterwards he resolved upon sending two bands 
under the command of two captains, the one to Cibao/ and 
the other to Niti, where, as I have already said, Caonabó 
lived. These parties went, one of them returning on the 
twentieth, and the other on the twenty-first of January. 
The party that went to Cibao saw gold in so many places that 
one scarcely dares state the fact, for in truth they found it in 
more than fifty streamlets and rivers, as well as upon their 
banks; so that, the captain said they had only to seek through- 
out that province, and they would find as much as they wished. 
He brought specimens from the different pai'ts, that is, from 
the sand of the rivers and small springs. It is thought, that 
by digging as we know how, it will be found in greater pieces, 
for the Indians neither know how to dig nor have the means 

parece es mayor su bestialidad que de ninguna bestia del mundo. 
Después de una vez haber determinado el Almirante de dejar el 
descobrir las minas fasta primero enviar los navios que se habían 
de partir á Castilla, por la mucha enfermedad que había seído en 
la gente, acordó de enviar dos cuadrillas con dos Capitanes, el vino 
á Cibao y el otro á Niti, donde está Caonobó, de que ya he dicho, 
las cuales fueron é vinieron el uno á veinte días de Enero, é el otro 
á veinte é uno : el que fue á Cíbao halló oro en tantas partes que 
no lo osa hombre decir, que de verdad en mas de cincuenta arroyos 
é ríos hallaban oro, é fuera do los ríos por tierra ; de manera que 
en toda aquella provincia dice que do quiera que lo quieran buscar 

1 In fact he sent twelve vessels under the command of Antonio de 
Torres, who set sail from the port of Navidad, on the second of Feb- 
ruary, 1494, charged with an account of all that had occurred. (Na- 

- This was Alonzo de Ojeda, who went out with fifteen men, in the 
month of January 1494, to seek the mines of Cibao, and returned a few 
days after with good news, having been well received everywhere by the 
natives. (Navarrete.) 


of digging more than a liand's depth. The other captain 
who went to Niti^ returned also with news of a great quan- 
tity of gold in three or four places ; of which he likewise 
brought specimens. 

Thus^ surely^ their Highnesses the King and Queen may 
henceforth regard themselves as the most prosperous and 
wealthy Sovereigns in the world ; never yet^ since the crea- 
tion, has such a thing been seen or read of; for on the return 
of the ships from their next voyage^ they will be able to 
carry back such a quantity of gold as will fill with amaze- 
ment all who hear of it. Here I think I shall do well to 
break off my narrative. I think those who do not know me 
who hear these things may consider me prolix, and some- 
what an exaggerator, but God is my witness, that I have not 
exceeded, by one tittle, the bounds of truth. 

The preceding is the translation of that part of Doctor 
Chanca's letter, which refers to intelligence respecting the 

lo hallarán. Trajo muestra de muchas partes como en la arena 
de los rios é en las hontizuelas, que están sobre tierra, creese que 
eabando, como sabemos hacer, se hallará en mayores pedazos, 
porque los indios no saben cabar ni tienen con que puedan cabar 
de un palmo arriba. El otro que fue á Mti trajo también nueva 
de mucho oro en tres ó cuatro partes ; ansi mesmo trajo la muestra 
dallo. Ansi que de cierto los Reyes nuestros Señores desde agora 
se pueden tener por los mas prósperos é mas ricos Príncipes del 
mundo, porque tal cosa hasta agora no se ha visto ni leido de 
ninguno en el mundo, porque verdaderamente á otro camino que 
los navios vuelvan pueden llevar tanta cantidad de oro que se 
puedan maravillar cualesquiera que lo supieren. Aquí me parece 
será bien cesar el cuento : creo los que no me conocen que oyeren 
éstas Cosas, me ternán por prolijo é por hombre que ha alargado 
algo ; pero Dios es testigo que jo no he traspasado una jota los 
términos de la verdad. 

Hasta aquí es el treslado de lo que conviene á nuevas de aquellas 


Indies.^ The remainder of the letter does not bear upon the 
subject^ but treats of private matters^ in which Doctor Chanca 
requests the interference and support of the Chapter of Seville 
(of which city he was a native), in behalf of his family and 
property, which he had left in the said city. This letter 
reached Seville in the month of^ in the year four- 

teen hundred and ninety-three. 

partes é Indias. Lo demás que venia en la carta no hace al caso, 
porque son cosas particulares que el dicho Dotor Chanca, como 
natural de Sevilla, suplicaba y encomendaba á los del Cabildo de 
Sevilla que tocaba á su hacienda y á los suyos, que en la dicha 
cibdad había dejado, y llegó esta á Sevilla en el mes de 

año de mil é cuatrocientos énoventa y tres años, 

^ It is to be regretted, Navarrete here justly remarks, that Dr. 
Chanca should not have described the subsequent occurrences in His- 
paniola, which are very important, and which have been related by co- 
temporary historians. 

2 A similar gap in the original. The date of the year is a mistake. 
This letter might have been brought by the ships commanded by Torres, 
and consequently must have been written at the end of January, 1494, 
after the expedition of Ojeda. (Navarrete.) 



Memorial of the results of the Second Voyage of the Admiral, 
Ghristopher Golumbus, to the Indies, draivn ujj by him for 
their Highnesses King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella ; 
and addressed to Antonio de Torres, from the City of 
Isabella, the SOth of January, 1494. The reply of their 
Highnesses is afixed at the end of each chapter} 

The report which you^ Antonio de Torres^ captain of the ship 
Marigalante, and Governor of the city of Isabella^ have to 
make, on my behalf, to the King and Queen our sovereigns, 
is as follows : 

Imprimis : after having delivered the credentials which 
you bear from me to their Highnesses, you will do homage 
in my name, and commend me to them as to my natural 


Que para los Beyes Católicos dio el Almirante D. Cristoial Colon, 
en la ciudad Isabela, á 30 de Enero de 1494 á Antonio de 
Torres, sobre el suceso de su segunda ^viage á las Indias ; y al 
final de cada capítido la respuesta de sus Altezas. 

Lo que vos Antonio de Torres, capitán de la nao Marigalante, é 
Alcaide de la ciudad Isabela, habéis de decir é suplicar de mi parte 
al Rey ó la Reina nuestros Señores es lo siguiente : 

Primeramente, dadas las cartas ¡de creencia que Jllevais de mí 
para sus Altezas, besareis por mi sus reales pies é manos, é me en- 
comendareis en sus Altezas como á Rey é Reina mis Señores natu- 
rales, en cuyo servicio yo deseo fenecer mis dias, como esto mas 

• In the original, the repHes are affixed in the margin of each chapter. 


sovereigns, in whose service I desire to continue till dcatli ; 
and you will furthermore be able to lay before them all that 
you have yourself seen and known respecting me. 

Tlieir Highnesses accept and achioivledge the service. 

Item : Although, by the letters which I have written to 
their Highnesses, as well as to Father Buil and to the Trea- 
surer, a clear and comprehensive idea may be formed of all 
that has transpired since our arrival ; you will^ notwithstand- 
ing, inform their Highnesses, on my behalf, that God has 
been pleased to manifest such favour towards their service, 
that not only has nothing hitherto occurred to diminish the 
importance of what I have formerly written or said to their 
Highnesses; but on the contrary I hope, by God's gx'ace, 
shortly to prove it more clearly by facts ; because we have 
found upon the sea shore, without penetrating into the interior 
of the country, some spots showing so many indications of 
vaiñous spices, as naturally to suggest the hope of the best re- 
sults for the future. The same holds good with respect to the 
gold mines ; for two parties only, who were sent out in dif- 
ferent directions to discover them, and who, because they had 

largamente vos podréis decir á sus Altezas, según lo que en mi vis- 
tes é supistes. 

Sus Altezas se lo tienen en servicio. 

ítem : Como quiera que por las cartas que á sus altezas escribo 
y aun el Padre Fray Buil y el Tesorero, podrán comprender todo 
lo que acá después de nuestra llegada se fizo, y esto harto por me- 
nudo y extensamente ; con todo diréis á sus Altezas de mi parte, 
que á Dios ha placido darme tal gracia para en su servicio, que 
hasta aquí no hallo yo menos ni se ha hallado en cosa alguna de 
lo que yo escribí y dije, y afirmé á sus Altezas en los dias pasados, 
antes por gracia de Dios espero que aun muy mas claramente y 
muy presto por la obra parecei'á, porque las cosas de especería en 
solas las orillas de la mar, sin haber entrado dentro en la tiei'ra, se 
halla tal rastro é principios della, que es razón que se esperen muy 
mejores fines, y esto mismo en las minas del oro, porque con solos 
dos que fueron á descubrir cada uno por su parte, sin detenerse 


few people with tliem^ remained out but a short time, found, 
nevertheless, a great number of rivers whose sands contained 
this precious metal in such quantity, that each man took up 
a sample of it in his hand ; so that our two messengers re- 
turned so joyous, and boasted so much of the abundance of 
gold, that I feel a hesitation in speaking and writing of 
it to their Highnesses. But as Gorbalan, who was one of 
the persons who went on the discovery, is returning to 
Spain, he will be able to relate all that he has seen and 
observed ; although there remains here another indivi- 
dual, — named Hojeda, formerly servant of the Duke of 
Medinaceli, and a very discreet and pains-taking youth, — 
who without doubt discovered, beyond all comparison, more 
than the other, judging by the account which he gave of 
the rivers he had seen ; for he reported, that each of them 
contained things that appeared incredible. It results from 
all this, that their Highnesses ought to return thanks to God, 
for the favour which He thus accords to all their Highnesses' 

Their Highnesses return thanks to God for all that is recorded, 
and regard as a very signal service all that the Admiral has 

allá porque era poca gente, se han descubierto tantos ríos tan pob- 
lados de oro, que cualquier de los que lo vieron é cogieron, sola- 
mente con las manos por muestra, vinieron tan alegres, y dicen 
tantas cosas de la abundancia dello, que yo tengo empacho de las 
decir y escribir á sus altezas ; pero porque allá vá Gorbalan, que 
fue nno de los descubridores, el dirá lo que vio, aunque acá queda 
otro que llaman Hojeda, criado del Duque de Medinaceli, muy 
discreto mozo y de muy gran recabdo, que sin duda y aun sin 
comparación, descubrió mucho mas, según el memorial de los ríos 
que él trajo, diciendo que en cada uno de ellos hay cosa de no 
creella ; por lo cual sus Altezas pueden dar gracias á Dios, pues 
tan favorablemente se ha en todas sus cosas. 

Sus A Itezas dan muchas gracias a Dios por esto, y tienen en muy 
señalado servicio al Almirante todo lo que en esto ha fecho y hace, 
porque conocen que después de Dios á él son 671 cargo de todo lo que 


already clone, and is yet doing ; for they are sensible that, 
under God, it is he who has procured for them their present 
and, future possessions in these countries ; and as tliey are 
about to umte to him on this subject more at length, they refer 
to their letter. 

Item. You will repeat to their Higlinesses what I have 
already written to them, that I should have ardently desired 
to have been able to send them, by this occasion, a larger 
quantity of gold than what they have any hope of our being 
able to collect, but that the greater part of the people we 
employed fell suddenly ill. Moreover, the departure of this 
present expedition could not be delayed any longer, for two 
reasons : namely, on account of the heavy expense which 
their stay here occasioned ; and because the weather was 
favourable for their departure, and for the return of those 
who should bring back the articles of which we stand in the 
most pressing need. If the former were to put off the 
time of their starting, and the latter were to delay their de- 
parture, they would not be able to reach here by the month 
of May. Besides, if I wished now to undertake a journey to 
the rivers with those who are well, — whether with those who 

en esto han hahido y hohieren ; y porque cerca desto le escriben mas 
largo, á sit carta se remiten. 

ítem : Dieris á sus Altezas, como quier que ya se les escribe, que 
yo deseaba mucho en esta armada poderles enviar mayor cuanti- 
dad de oro del que acá se espera poder coger, si la gente que acá 
está nuesti-a, la mayor parte súbitamente no cayera doliente ; pero 
porque ya esta armada non so podia detener acá mas, siquiera por 
la costa grande que hace, siquiera porque el tiempo es este propio 
para ir y poder volver los que han de traer acá las cosas que aquí 
hacen mucha mengua, porque si tardasen de irse de aquí non 
podrían volverse para Mayo los que han de volver, y allende desto 
si con los sanos que acá se hallan, así en mar como en tierra en la 
población, yo quisiera emprender de ir á las minas ó ríos ao'ora, 
Labia muchas dificultades é aun peligros, porque de aquí á veinte 
y tres ó veinte y cuatro leguas, en donde hay puertos é rios para 


are at sea^ or those who are on land in the huts, — I should 
experience great difficulties^ and even dangers ; because, in 
traversing three or four-and-twenty leagues, where there are 
bays and rivers to pass, we should be obliged to carry, as 
provision for so long a journey, and for the time necessary 
for collecting the gold, many articles of food, etc., which 
could not be carried on our backs, and there are no beasts 
of burden to be found, to afford the necessary assistance. 
Moreover, the roads and passes are not in such a condition 
as I should wish for travelling over; but they have already 
begun to make them passable. It would be also extremely 
inconvenient to leave the sick men here in the open air, or in 
huts, with such food and defences as they have on shore ; 
although these Indians appear every day to be more simple 
and harmless to those who land for the purpose of making 
investigations. In short, although they come every day to 
visit us, it would nevertheless be imprudent to risk the loss 
of our men and our provisions, which might very easily 
happen, if an Indian were only, with a lighted coal, to set 
fire to the huts, for they ramble about both night and day ; 

pasar y para tan largo camino, y para estar allá al tiempo que seria 
menester para coger el oro, habia menester llevar muchos mante- 
nimientos, los cuales non podrían llevar á cuestas, ni hay bestias 
acá que á esto pudiesen suplir, ni los caminos é pasos non están 
tan aparejados, como quíer que se ban comenzado á adobar para 
que se podiesen pasar; y también era grande inconveniente dejar 
acá los dolientes en lugar abierto y chozas, y las provisiones y 
mantenimientos que están en tierra, que como quier que estos 
indios se hayan mostrado á los descubridores, y se muestran cada 
dia muy simples y sin malicia ; con todo, porque cada dia vienen 
acá entre nosotros non pareció que fuera buen consejo meter á 
riesgo y á ventura de perderse esta gente y los mantenimientos, 
lo que un indio con un tizón podría hacer poniendo liuego á las 
chozas, porque de noche y de dia siempre van y vienen ; á causa 


for this reason, we keep sentinels constantly on the watch 
while the dwellings are exposed and undefended. 

He has done rvell. 

Further^ as we have remarked that the greatest part of 
those who have gone out to make discoveries, have fallen 
sick on their return, and that some have even been obliged 
to abandon the undertaking in the middle of their journey, 
and return, it was equally to be feared that the same would 
occur to those who were at the time enjoying good health, 
if they were also to go. There were two evils to fear : — one, 
the chance of falling ill in undertaking the same work, in a 
place where there were no houses nor any kind of protection, 
and of being exposed to the attacks of the cacique called 
Caonabo, who, by all accounts, is a badly-disposed man, and 
extremely daring • who, if he were to find us in a dispirited 
condition and sick, might venture upon what he would not 
dare to do if we were well. The other evil consisted in the 
difficulty of carrying the gold ; for, either we should have to 
carry it in small quantities, and go and return every day, 
and thus daily expose ourselves to the chance of sickness ; 

dellos tenemos guardas en el campo mientras la población está 
abierta y sin defensión. 

Que lo hizo hien. 

Otrosí : Como habernos visto en los que fueron por tierra á 
descobrir que los mas cayeron dolientes después de vueltos, y aun 
algunos se hobieron de volver del camino, era también razón de 
temer que otro tal conteciese a los que agora irian destos sanos 
que se hallan, y seguirse bian dos peligros de allí, el uno de ado- 
lecer allá en la misma obra dó no bay casa ni reparo alguno de 
aquel Cacique que llaman Caonabó que es hombre, según relación 
de todos, muy malo y muy mas atrevido, el cual viéndonos allá así 
desbaratados y dolientes, podiña emprender lo que non osaría si 
fuésemos sanos : y con esto mismo se allega otra dificultad de 
traer acá lo que llegásemos de oro, porque ó hablamos de traer 
poco j ir y venir cada día, y meterse en el riesgo de las dolencias, 


or we should have to send it under the escort of a party of 
our people^ and equally run the risk of losing them. 

He has done well. 

These are the reasons, j^ou will tell their Highnesses, why 
the departure of the expedition has not been delayed, and 
why only a sample of the gold is sent to them ; but I trust 
in the mercy of God, who in all things and in every place 
has guided us hitherto, that all our men will be soon restored 
to health, as, indeed, they are already beginning to be ; for 
they have but to try this country for a little time and they 
speedily recover their health. One thing is certain, that if 
they could have fresh meat, they would very quickly, by the 
help of God, be up and doing; and those who are most 
sickly, would speedily recover. I hope that they may be 
restored. The small number of those who continue well, 
are employed every day in barricading our dwelling, so as 
to put it in a state of defence, and in taking necessary 
measures for the safety of our ammunition ; which will be 
finished now in a few days, for all our fortifications will con- 

6 se habia de enviar con alguna parte de la gente con el mismo 
peligro de perderlo. 

Lo hizo híen. 

Así que, diréis á sus Altezas, que estas son las cabsas porque do 
presente non se ha detenido el armada, ni se les envía oro mas de 
las muestras ; pero confiando en la misericordia de Dios, que en 
todo y por todo nos ha guiado hasta aquí, esta gente convalescerá 
presto, como ya lo hace, poi^que solamente les prueba la tierra de 
algunas ceciones, y luego se levantan ; y es cierto que sí tovíesen 
algunas carnes frescas para convalescer muy presto serian todos 
en píe con ayuda de Dios, é aun los mas estarían ya convalescídos 
en este tiempo, espero que ellos convalescerán : con estos pocos 
sanos que acá quedan, cada día se entiende en cerrar la población 
y meterla en alguna defensa, y los mantenimientos en seguro, que 
será fecho en breves días, porque non ha de ser sino albarradas 
que non son gente los indios, que sí dormiendo non nos fallasen 


sist simply of stone walls.^ These precautions will be suffi- 
cient, as the Indians are not a people to be much afraid of; 
and, unless they should find us asleep, they would not dare 
to undertake any hostile movement against us, even if they 
should entertain the idea of so doing. The misfortune which 
happened to those who remained here, must be attributed 
to their want of vigilance ; for however few they were in 
number, and however favourable the opportunities that the 
Indians may have had for doing what they did, they would 
never have ventured to do them any injury, if they had only 
seen that they took proper precautions against an attack. 
As soon as this object is gained, I will undertake to go in 
search of these rivers; either proceeding hence by land, and 
looking out for the best expedients that may oner, or else 
by sea, rounding the island until we come to the place which 
is described as being only six or seven leagues from where 
these rivers that I speak of are situated ; so that we may 
collect the gold in safety, and put it in security against all 
attacks in some stronghold or tower, which may be quickly 
built for that purpose : and thus, when the two caravels shall 
return thither, the gold may be taken away and finally sent 

para emprender cosa ninguna, aunque la to viesen pensada, que así 
hicieron á los otros que acá quedaron por su mal recabdo, los 
cuales por pocos que fuesen, y por mayores ocasiones que dieran 
á los indios de haber é de hacer lo que hicieron, nunca ellos osaran 
emprender de dañarles si los vieran á buen recabdo : y esto fecho 
luego se entenderá en ir á los dichos rios, ó desde acquí tomando 
el camino, y buscando los mejores expedientes que se puedan, ó 
por la mar rodeando la isla fasta aquella parte de donde se dice 
que no debe haber mas de seis ó siete leguas hasta los dichos rios ; 
por forma que con seguridad se pueda cojer el oro y ponerlo en 
recabdo de alguna fortaleza ó torre que allí se haga luego, para 
tenerlo cogido al tiempo que las dos carabelas volverán acá, é para 

' Albarrada — an Arabic word implying a stone wall without mortar. 


home in safety at the first favourable season for making the 

This is well and exadlij as he should do. 

Item. You will inform their Highnesses (as indeed has 
been already said), that the cause of the sickness so general 
among us, is the change of air and water, for we find that all 
of us are affected, though few dangerously ; consequently, 
the presei'vation of the health of the people will depend, 
under God, on their being provided with the same food 
that they are accustomed to in Spain : neither those who 
are here now, nor those that shall come, will be in a position 
to be of service to their Highnesses, unless they enjoy good 
health. We ought to have fresh supplies of provisions 
until the time that we may be able to gather a sufiBcient 
crop from what we shall have sown or planted here : I speak 
of wheat, barley, and grapes, towards the cultivation of 
which not much has been done this year, from our being 
unable earlier to choose a convenient settlement. When we 
had chosen it, the small number of labourers that were with 
us fell sick ; and, even when they recovered, we had so few 
cattle, and those so lean and weak, that the utmost they 

que luego con el primer tiempo que sea para navegar este camino 
se envié á buen recabdo. 

Qtie está bien, y asi lo deie hacer. 

ítem : Diréis á sus Altezas, como dicho es, que las causas de las 
dolencias tan general de todos es de mudamiento de aguas y aires, 
porque vemos que á todos arreo se extiende y peligran pocos ; por 
consiguiente la conservación de la sanidad, después de Dios, está 
que esta gente sea proveída de los mantenimientos que en España 
acostumbraba, porque dellos, ni de otros que viniesen de nuevo 
sus Altezas se podrán servir si no están sanos ; y esta provision 
ha de durar hasta que acá se haya fecho cimiento de lo que acá 
se sembrare é plantare, digo de trigos y cebadas, é viñas, de lo 
cual para este año se ho fecho poco, porque no se pudo de antes 
tomar asiento, y luego que se tomó adolescieron aquellos poquitos 
labradores que acá estaban, los cuales aunque estovieran sanos 


could do was very little ; however^ they have sown a few 
plots of gToundj for the sake of trying- the soil^ which seems 
excellent^ in the hope of thereby obtaining some relief in our 
necessities. We are very confident, from what we can see, 
that wheat and grapes will grow very well in this country. 
We must, however, wait for the fruit j and if it grows as 
quickly and well as the corn, in proportion to the number of 
vines that have been planted, we shall certainly not stand 
in need of Andalusia and Sicily here. There are also sugar- 
canes, of which the small quantity that we have planted has 
taken root. The beauty of the country in these islands, — 
the mountains, the valleys, the streams, the fields watered 
by broad rivers, — is such that there is no country on which 
the sun sheds his beams that can present a more charming 

Since the land is so fertile, it is desirable to sow of all Muds 
as much as possible ; and Don Juan de Fonseca is instructed 
to send over immediately everything requisite for that lyur- 

tenían tan pocas bestias y tan magras y flacas, que poco es lo que 
pudieran hacer : con todo, alguna cosa han sembrado, mas para 
probar la tierra, que parece muy maravillosa, para que de allí se 
puede esperar remedio alguno en nuesti'as necesidades. Somos 
bien ciertos, como la obra lo muestra, que en esta tierra asi el trigo 
como el vino nacerá muy bien ; pero base de esperar el fruto, el 
cual si tal será como muestra la presteza del nacer del trigo, y de 
algunos poquitos de sarmientos que se pusieron, es cierto que 
non fará mengua el Andalucía ni Secilía aquí, «ni en las cañas de 
azúcar, según unas poquitas que se pusieron han prendido ; porque 
es cierto que la hermosura de la tierra de estas islas, así de montes 
é sierras y aguas, como de vegas donde hay rios cabdales, es tal 
la vista que ninguna otra tierra que sol escaliente puede ser mejor 
al parecer ni tan fermosa. 

Pues la tierra es tal, que dehe procurar que se siembre lo mas que 
ser pudiere de todas cosas, y á D. Jtuin de Fonseca se escribe que en- 
vie de contino todo lo qtieficere menester para esto. 



Item. You will say, that as a large portion of the wine 
that we brought with us has run away, in consequence, as 
most of the men say, of the bad cooperage of the butts made 
at Seville, the article that we stand most in need of now^ 
and shall stand in need of, is wine ; and although we have 
biscuit and corn for some time longer, it is nevertheless 
necessary that a reasonable quantity of these be sent to us, 
for the voyage is a long one, and it is impossible to make a 
calculation for every day ; the same holds good with respect 
to pork and salt beef, which should be better than what we 
brought out with us on this voyage. Sheep, and still better, 
lambs and lambkins, more females than males, young calves 
and heifers, also are wanted, and should be sent by every 
caravel that may be dispatched hither ; and at the same 
time some asses, both male and female, and mares for labour 
and tillage ; for here there are no beasts that a man can turn 
to any use. As I fear that their Highnesses may not be at 
Seville, and that their ofScers or ministers will not, without 
their express instructions, make any movement towards the 

Item : Diréis que á cabsa de haberse derramado mucho vino en 
este camino del que la flota traía, y esto, según dicen los mas, á 
culpa de la mala obra que los toneleros ficieron en Sevilla, la mayor 
mengua que agora tenemos, aquí, ó esperamos por esto tener, es de 
vinos, y como quíer que tengamos para mas tiempo así vízcocho 
como trigo, con todo es necesario que también se envíe alguna 
cuantidad razonable, porque el camino es largo y cada día no se 
puede proveer, é asimismo algunas canales, digo tocinos, y otra 
cecina que sea mejor que la que habernos traído este camino. De 
carneros vivos y aun antes corderos y cordericas, mas fembras que 
machos, y algunos becerros y becerras pequeños son menester, que 
cada vez vengan en cualquier carabela que acá se enviare, y algunas 
asnas y asnos, y yeguas para trabajo y simiente, que acá ninguna de 
estas animalias hay de que hombre se pueda ayudar ni valer. T 
porque recelo que sus Altezas no se fallarán en Sevilla, ni los 
Oficiales ó Ministros suyos sin expreso mandamiento non pro- 


carrying out of the necessary ai-rangements for the return 
voyage ; and that^ in the interval between the report and the 
reply^ the favourable moment for the departure of the vessels 
which are to return hither (and which should be in all the 
month of May) may elapse^ you will tell their Highnesses, 
as I charged and ordered you, that I have given strict orders 
that the gold that you carry with you be placed in the hands 
of some merchant in Seville, in order that he may therefrom 
disburse the sums necessary for loading the two caravels 
with wine, corn, and other articles detailed in this memo- 
rial ; and this merchant shall convey or send the said 
gold to their Highnesses, that they may see it, receive 
it, and from it cause to be defrayed the expenses that 
may arise from the fitting-up and loading of the said two 
caravels. It is necessary, for the encouragement of the men 
who remain here, and for the support of their spirits, that 
an effort should be made to let the expedition arrive in the 
course of the month of May, so that before summer they 
may have the fresh provisions, and other necessaries, espe- 
cially against sickness. We particularly stand in need of 
raisins, sugar, almonds, honey, and rice, of which we ought 

veerian en lo porque agora con este primero camino es necesario 
que venga, porque en la consulta j en la respuesta se pasaría la 
sazón del partir los navios que acá por todo Mayo es necesario que 
sean ; diréis á sus Altezas, como yo vos di cargo y mandé, que del 
oro que allá lleváis empeñándolo, ó poniéndolo en poder de algún 
mercader en Sevilla, el cual distraya y ponga los maravedís que 
serán menester para cargar dos carabelas de vino y de trigo, y de 
las oti'as cosas que lleváis por memorial, el cual mercader lleve ó 
envíe el dicho oro para sus Altezas, que le vean, rescíban y bagan 
pagar lo que hobíere disti^aído é puesto para el despacho y carga- 
zón de las dichas dos carabelas, las cuales por consolar y esforzar 
esta gente que acá queda, cumple que fagan mas de poder de ser 
acá \'ueltas por todo el mes de Mayo, porque la gente antes de 
entrar en el verano vea é tengan algún refrescamiento destas 



to have had a great quantity, but brought very little with 
us, and what we had is now consumed. The greater part of 
the medicines, also, that we brought from Spain are used 
up, so many of our number having been sick. For all 
these articles, both for those who are in good health and 
for the sick, you carry, as I have already said, memorials 
signed by my hand ; you will execute my orders to the full, 
if there be sufficient money wherewith to do so, or you will 
at least procure what is more immediately necessary, and 
which ought, consequently, to come as speedily as possible 
by the two vessels. As to the remainder, you will obtain 
their Highnesses' permission for their being sent by other 
vessels without loss of time. 

Their Highnesses will give instructions to Don Juan de Fon- 
seca to malee immediate inquiry respecting the imposition in 
the matter of the casTcs, in order that those who supplied tJiem 
shall at their own expense malve good the loss occasioned hij 
the waste of the ivine, together with the costs. He ivill have to 
see that sugar-canes of good qtiality he sent, and will imme- 

cosas, en especial para las dolencias ; de las cuales cosas acá ya 
tenemos gran mengua, como son pasas, azúcar, almendras, miel é 
arroz, que debiera venir en gran cuantidad y vino muy poca, é 
aquello que vino es ya consumido é gastado, y aun la mayor 
parte de las medecinas que de allá trojieron, por la muchedumbre 
de los muchos dolientes ; de las cuales cosas, como dicho es, vos 
lleváis memoriales así para sanos, como para dolientes, firmados 
de mi mano, los cuales cumplidamente si el dinero bastare, ó 
á lo menos lo que mas necesario sea para agora despachar, es 
para que lo puedan luego traer los dichos dos navios, y lo que 
quedare procurareis con sus Altezas que con otros navios venga 
lo mas presto que ser pudiere. 

Sus Altezas enviaron á mandar á D. Juan de Fonseca que luego 
haya información de los que hicieroyi ese engaño en los toneles, y de 
sus bienes haga que se cobre todo el daño que vino en el vino, con las 
costas; y en lo de las cañas vea como las que se enviaren sean buenas, 
y en las otras cosas que aqv'i dice que las provea luego. 


diately look to the despatch, of the other articles herein re- 

Item. You will tell their Highnesses^ that as we have no 
interpreter through whom we can make these people ac- 
quainted with our holy faith^ as their Highnesses and we 
ourselves desire^ and as we will do so soon as we are able^ 
we send by these two vessels some of these cannibal men 
and women, as well as some children, both male and female, 
whom their Highnesses might order to be placed under the 
care of the most competent persons to teach them the lan- 
guage. At the same time they might be employed in useful 
occupations, and by degrees through somewhat more care 
being bestowed upon them than upon other slaves, they 
would learn one from the other. By not seeing or speaking 
to each other for a long time, they will learn much sooner 
in Spain than they will here, and become much better in- 
terpreters. We will, however, not fail to do what we can ; 
it is true, that as there is but little communication between 
one of these islands and another, there is some difference 
in their mode of expressing themselves, which mainly de- 
pends on the distance between them. But as amongst all 

Item : Diréis á sus Altezas que á cabsa que acá no hay lengua 
por medio de la cual á esta gente se pueda dar á entender nuestra 
santa Fé, como sus Altezas desean, y aun los que acá estamos, co- 
mo quier que se trabajará cuauto pudieren, se envían de presente 
con estos navios así de los caníbales, hombres y mugeres y niños y 
niñas, los cuales sus Altezas pueden mandar poner en poder de per- 
sonas con quien puedan mejor aprender la leogua, ejercitándolos 
en cosas de servicio, y poco á poco mandando poner en ellos algún 
mas cuidado que en otros esclavos pai'a que deprendan unos do 
otros, que no se hablen ni se vean sino muy tarde, que mas 
presto deprenderán allá que no acá, y serán mejores intérpretes, 
como quier que acá non se dejará de hacer lo que se pueda ; es 
verdad que como esta gente platican poco los de la uua isla con 
los de la otra, en las lenguas hay alguna diferencia entre ellos, 
según como están mas cerca ó mas lejos: y porque entre las otras 


these islands, those inhabited by the cannibals are the 
largest and the most populous, it must be evident that 
nothing but good can come from sending to Spain men and 
women who may thus one day be led to abandon their bar- 
barous custom of eatiug their fellow-creatures. By learning 
the Spanish language in Spain, they will much earlier receive 
baptism and advance the welfare of their souls ; moreover, 
we shall gain great credit with the Indians who do not 
practise the above-mentioned cruel custom, when they see 
that we have seized and led captive those who injure them, 
and whose very name alone fills them with hoi-ror. You 
will assure their Highnesses, that our arrival in this country, 
and the sight of so fine a fleet, have produced the most im- 
posing effect for the present, and promise great security 
hereafter ; for all the inhabitants of this great island, and of 
the others, when they see the good treatment that we shall 
shew to those who do well, and the punishment that we 
shall inflict on those who do wrong, will hasten to submit, 
so that we shall be able to lay our commands on them as 
vassals of their Highnesses. And as even now they not only 

islas las de los caníbales son mucho grandes, y mucho bien 
pobladas, parecerá acá que tomar dellos y dallas y enviarlos allá 
á Castilla non seria sino bien, porque quitarse hian una vez de 
aquella inhumana costumbre que tienen de comer hombres, y 
allá en Castilla entendiendo la lengua muy mas presto rescibirian 
el Bautismo, y farian el provecho de sus animas: aun entre estos 
pueblos que non son de esas cosbumbres, se ganaria gi'an crédito 
por nosotros viendo que aquellos prendiésemos y cativasemos, de 
quien ellos suelen rescibir daños, y tienen tamaño miedo que del 
nombre solo se espantan ; certificando á sus Altezas que la venida 
é vista de esta flota acá en esta tierra así junta y hermosa, ha 
dado muy grande autoridad á esto y muy grande seguridad para 
las cosas venideras, por que toda esta gente de esta grande isla 
y de las otras, viendo el buen tratamiento que á los buenos se 
fará, y el castigo que á los malos se dará, verná á obediencia 
prestament para poderlos mandar como vasallos de sus Altezas. 


readily comply with every wish that we express, but also of 
their own accord endeavour to do what they think will please 
us, I think that their Highnesses may feel assured that, 
on the other side also, the arrival of this fleet has, in many 
respects, secured for them, both for the present and the 
future, a wide renown amongst all Christian Princes ; but 
they themselves will be able to form a much better judgment 
on this subject than it is in my power to give expres- 
sion to. 

Let Mm he informed ofivhat has transpired respecting the 
cannibals that came over to Spain. He has done well and 
let him do as he says ; hut let him endeavour by all pos- 
sible means to convert them to our holy Catholic religion, and, 
do the saine ivith respect to the inhabitants of all the islands 
to which he may go. 

Item. You will tell their Highnesses, that the welfare 
of the souls of the said cannibals, and of the inhabitants 
of this island also, has suggested the thought that the 
greater the number that are sent over to Spain the better, 
and thus good service may result to their Highnesses 

Y como quier que ellos agora donde quier que hombre se halle 
nou solo hacen de grado lo que hombre quiere que fagan, mas 
ellos de su voluntad se ponen á todo lo que entienden que nos 
puede placer, y también pueden ser ciertos sus Altezas que non 
menos allá, entre los cristianos Principes haber dado gran repu- 
tación la venida desta armada por muchos respetos, así presentes 
como venideros, los cuales sus Altezas podrán mejor pensar y 
entender que non sabría decir. 

Decirle heis lo que acá ha habido en lo de dos caníbales que acá 

Que está muy hien, y asi lo dehe hacer ; pero que procure allá^ 
como si ser pudiere, se reduzgan á nuestra santa Fé católica, y asi- 
mismo lo procure con los de las islas donde está. 

ítem : Diréis á sus Altezas, que el provecho de las almas de los 
dichos canibales, y aun destos de acá, hatraido el pensamiento que 
cuantos mas allá se llevasen seria mejor, y en ello podrian sus 


in the following manner. Considering what great need 
we have of cattle and of beasts of burthen^ both for food 
and to assist the settlei'S in this and all these islands, 
both for peopling the land and cultivating the soil, their 
Highnesses might authorize a suitable number of caravels to 
come here every year to bring over the said cattle, and pro- 
visions, and other articles ; these cattle, etc., might be sold 
at moderate prices for account of the bearers, and the latter 
might be paid with slaves, taken from among the Caribbees, 
who are a wild people, fit for any work, well proportioned 
and very intelligent, and who, when they have got rid of the 
cruel habits to which they have become accustomed, will be 
better than any other kind of slaves. When they are out 
of their country, they will forget their cruel customs ; and it 
will be easy to obtain plenty of these savages by means of 
row-boats that we propose to build. It is taken for granted, 
that each of the caravels sent by their Highnesses, will have 
on board a confidential man, who will take care that the 
vessels do not stop anywhere else than here, where they are 
to unload and reload their vessels. Their Highnesses might 

Altezas ser servidos desta manera : que visto cuanto son acá 
menester los ganados y bestias de trabajo para el sostenimiento 
de la gente que acá ha de estar, y bien de todas estas islas, sus 
Altezas podrán dar licencia é permiso á un número de carabelas 
suficiente que vengan acá cada aao, y trayan de los dichos ganados 
y otros mantenimientos y cosas para poblar el campo y aprovechar 
la tierra, y esto en precios razonables á sus costas de los que las 
truo-ieren, las cuales cosas se les podrían pagar en esclavos de 
estos caníbales, gente tan fiera y dispuesta, y bien proporcionada 
y de muy buen entendimiento, los cuales quitados de aquella in- 
humanidad creemos que serán mejores que otros ningunos 
esclavos, la cual luego perderán que sean fuera de su tierra, y de 
estos podrán haber muchos con las fustas de remos que acá se 
entienden de hacer, fecho empero presupuesto que cada una de 
las carabelas que viniesen de sus Altezas pusiesen una persona 
fiable, la cual defendiese las dichas carabelas que non descendiesen 


fix duties on the slaves that may be taken over^ upon tlieir 
arrival in Spain. You will ask for a reply upon this point, 
and bring it to me, in order that I may be able to take the 
necessary measures, should the proposition merit the appro- 
bation of their Highnesses. 

The consideration of this subject has been suspended for a 
time, until fresh advices arrive from the other side : let the 
Admiral write what he thinhs upon the subject. 

Item. You will also tell their Highnesses, that freighting 
the ships by the ton, as the Flemish merchants do, will be 
more advantageous and less expensive than any other mode, 
and it is for this reason that I have given you instructions 
to freight in this manner the caravels that you have now to 
send off, and it will be well to adopt this plan with all the 
others that their Highnesses may send provided it meets 
their approbation ; but I do not mean to say that this mea- 
sure should be applied to the vessels that shall come over 
licensed for the traffic of slaves. 

Their Hi'jhnesses have given directions to Don Juan de 

á ninguna otra parte ni isla salvo aquí, donde lia de estar la cai'ga 
y descarga de toda la mercaduría ; y aun destos esclavos que se 
llevaren, sus Altezas podrían haber sus derechos allá ; y desto 
traeréis ó enviareis respuesta, porque acá se hagan los aparejos 
que son menester con mas confianza, sí á sus Altezas pareciere 

En esto se ha suspendido por agora hasta que venga otro camino 
de allá, y escriba el Almirante lo que en esto le paresciore. 

ítem : También diréis á sus Altezas que mas provechoso es, y 
menos costa, fletar los navios como los fletan los mercaderes para 
Flandes por toneladas que non de otra manera ; por ende que yo 
vos di cargo de fletar á este respecto las dos carabelas que habéis 
luego de enviar : y así se podrá hacer de todas las otras que sus 
Altezas enviaren, si de aquella forma se ternán por servidos ; pero 
non entiendo decir esto de las que han de venir con su licencia 
por la mercaduría de los esclavos. 

Sus xiltezas mandan á D. Juan da Fonseca que en el fletar de las 
carabelas taiga esta forma si ser pudiere. 


Fonseca, to have tJie caravels freigJited in the manner de- 
scribed, if it can he done. 

Item. You will tell their Highnesses^ that in order to 
save any extra expense^ I have purchased the caravels men- 
tioned in the memorial of which you are the bearer^ in order 
to keep them here with the two vessels^ the Gallega and the 
Gaditana, of which, by advice of the pilot its commander, I 
purchased the three-eighths for the price declared in the said 
memorial, signed by my hand. These vessels will not only 
give authority and great security to those who will have to 
remain on shore and whose duty it will be to make arrange- 
ments with the Indians for collecting the gold; but they 
will be also very useful to ward off any attack that may be 
made upon them by strangers ; moreover, the caravels will 
be required for the task of making the discovery of terra 
firma, and of the islands which lie scattered about in this 
vicinity. You will therefore beg their Highnesses to pay, 
at the term of credit arranged with the sellers, the sums 
which these vessels shall cost, for without doubt their High- 
nesses will be very soon reimbursed for what they may ex- 
pend; at least, such is my belief and hope in the mercy of God. 

Item : Diréis á sus Altezas que á causa de escusar alguna mas 
costa, yo merqué estas carabelas que lleváis por memorial para 
retenerlas acá con estos dos naos, conviene á saber, la Gallega y 
esa otra Capitana, de la cual merqué por semejante del Maestre 
della los tres ochavos por el precio que en el dicho memorial destas 
copias lleváis firmado de mi mano, los cuales navios non solo darán 
autoridad y gi^an seguridad á la gente que ha de estar dentro y 
conversar con los indios para cojer el oro, mas aun para otra 
cualquier cosa de peligro que de gente estraua pudiese acontescer, 
allende que las carabelas son necesarias para el descubrir de la 
tierra firme y otras islas que entre aquí é allá están ; y suplicareis 
á sus Altezas que los mará vedis que estos navios cuestan manden 
pagar eu los tiempos que se les ha prometido, porque sin dubda 
ellos ganarán bien su costa, según yo creo y espero en la miseri- 
cordia de Dios. 


The Admiral lias done well. You will tell Mm that the sum 
mentioned has been paid to the seller of the vessels, and that 
Bon Juan de Fonseca has been ordered to pay the cost of the 
caravels purchased by the Admiral. 

Item. You will speak to their Highnesses^ and beseech 
them on my behalf, in the most humble manner possible, to 
be pleased to give mature reflection to the observations I 
may make, in letters or more detailed statements, with re- 
ference to the peacefulness, harmony, and good feeling of 
those who come hither ; in order that for their Highnesses 
service persons may be selected who will hold in view the 
purpose for which these men are sent, rather than their own 
interest; and since you yourself have seen and are acquainted 
with these matters, you will speak to their Highnesses upon 
this subject, and will tell them the truth on every point ex- 
actly as you have understood it ; you will also take care that 
the orders which their Highnesses shall give on this point 
be put into efíect, if possible, by the first vessels, in order 
that no further injury occur here in the matters that añect 
their service. 

El Almirante lo hizo bien, y decirle liéis como acá se pago al que 
vendió la nao, y maridaron á D. Juan de Fonseca queiKiyue lo de las 
carabelas que el Almirante compró. 

ítem : Diréis á sus Altezas y suplicareis de mi parte cuanto 
mas humilmente pueda, que les plega mucho mirar en lo que por 
las cartas y otras escripturas verán mas largamente tocante á la 
paz é sosiego e concordia de los que acá están, y que para las cosas 
del servicio de sus Altezas escojan tales personas que non se tenga 
recelo dellas y que miren mas á lo por que se envían que non á 
sus propios intereses ; y en esto, pues que todas las cosas vistes é 
supistes, hablareis é diréis á sus Altezas la verdad de todas las 
cosas como las comprendistes, y que la provision de sus Altezas 
que sobre ello mandaren facer venga con los primeros navios si 
posible fuere, á fin que acá non se hagan escándalos en cosa que 
tanto va en el servicio de sus Altezas. 


Their Higlwiesses are luell informed of all that tahes place, 
and will see to it that everything is done as it should he. 

Item. You will describe to their Highnesses the position 
of this citjj the beauty of the province in which it is situated, 
as you have seen it, and as you can honestly speak of it ; and 
you can inform them, that in virtue of the powers which I 
have received from them, I have made you governor of the 
said city ; and you will tell them also that I humbly beseech 
them, out of consideration for your services, to receive your 
nomination favourably, which I sincerely hope they may do. 

Their Highnesses are pleased to sanction your appointment 
as governor. 

Item. As Messire Pedro Margarite, an officer of the house- 
hold to their Highnesses, has done good service, and will, I 
hope, continue to do so for the future in all matters which 
may be entrusted to him, I have felt great pleasure in his 
continuing his stay in this country ; and I have been much 
pleased to find that Gaspar and Beltran also remain : and as 
they are all three well known to their Highnesses as faithful 
servants, I shall place them in posts or employments of trust. 
You will beg their Highnesses especially to have regard to 
the situation of the said Messire Pedro Mai-garite, who is 

Siis Altezas están bien informados desto, y en todo se proveerá 
como conviene. 

ítem : Diréis á sus Altezas el asiento de esta ciudad, 6 la fermo- 
sura de la provincia alderedor como lo vistes y compreendistes, y 
como yo vos hice Alcayde della por los poderes que de sus Altezas 
tengo pai-a ello, á las cuales humilmente suplico que en alguna 
parte de satisfacción de vuestros servicios tengan por bien la 
dicha provision, como de sus Altezas yo espero. 

A sus Altezas plaze que vos seáis Alcayde. 

ítem : Porque Mosen Pedro Margarita, criado de sus Altezas, 
há bien servido, y espero que así lo hará adelante en las cosas que 
le fueren encomendadas, he habido placer de su quedada aqui, y 
también de Gaspar y de Beltran por ser conocidos criados de sus 
Altezas para los poner en cosas de confianza : suplicareis á sus 


married and the father of a family, and beseech them to give 
him some vacant command in the order of Santiago, of which 
he is a knight, in order that his wife and children may thus 
hare a competence to live upon. You will also make mention 
of Juan Aguado, a servant of their Highnesses ; you will in- 
form them of the zeal and activity with which he has served 
them in all matters that have been entrusted to him ; and 
also that I beseech their Highnesses on his behalf, as well as 
on behalf of those above mentioned, not to forget my recom- 
mendation, but to give it full consideration. 

Their Highnesses grant an annual pension of thirty thou- 
sand maravedis to Messire Pedro Margarite, and pensions of 
fifteen thousand maravedis to Gaspard and Beltram, tvhich 
v;ill he reckoned from this day, the Ibth of August 1494. 
They give orders that the said pensions be paid by the Ad- 
miral out of the sums to he p)aid in the Indies, and by Don 
Juan de Fonseca out of the sums to be paid in Spain. With 
respect to the matter of Juan Aguado, their Highnesses luill 
not he forgetful. 

Item. You will inform their Highnesses of the continual 
labour that Doctor Chanca has undergone, from the pro- 

Altezas que especial al diclio Mosen Pedro, que es casado y tiene 
hijos le provean de alguna encomienda en la Orden de Santiago, 
de la cual él tiene el hábito, porque su muger é hijos tengan en 
que vivir. Asimismo haréis relación de Juan Aguado, criado de 
sus Altezas, cuan bien é diligentemente ha servido en todo lo que 
le ha seido mandado ; que suplico á sus Altezas á él é á los sobre- 
dichos los hayan por encomendados é por presentes. 

iSus Altezas mandan asentar á Mosen Pedro 30000 maravedis cada 
ano, y á Gaspar y Beltran á cada uno 15000 maravedis cada año 
desde hoy 15 ele Agosto de 94 en adelante, y asi les haga pagar el 
Almirante en lo que allá se hubiere de pagar, y D. Juan de Fonseca 
en lo que acá se Jwhiere de pagar : y en lo de Juan Aguado sus 
Altezas habrán memoria de él. 

ítem : Diréis á sus Altezas el trabajo que el Doctor Chanca tiene 
con el afruenta de tantos dolientes, y aun la estrechura de los man- 


digious number of sick and the scarcity of provisions : and 
that, in spite of all this, he exhibits the greatest zeal and 
kindness in everything that relates to his profession. As 
their highnesses have entrusted me with the charge of fixing 
the salary that is to be paid to him while out here (although 
it is certain that he neither receives, nor can receive anything 
from any one, and does not receive anything from his posi- 
tion, equal to what he did, and could still do in Spain, 
where he lived peaceably and at ease, in a very different style 
from what he does here ; and, although he declares that he 
earned more in Spain, exclusive of the pay which he received 
from their Highnesses), I have, nevertheless, not ventured 
to place to the credit of his account more than fifty thousand 
maravedis per annum, as the sum which he is to receive for 
his yearly labour during the time of his stay in this country. 
I beg their Highnesses to give their sanction to this salary, 
exclusive of his maintenance while here ; and I do so, because 
he asserts that all the medical men who attend their High- 
nesses in the royal yachts, or in any of their expeditions, are 
accustomed to receive by right the day's pay out of the 
annual salary of each individual. Let this be as it may, I 

tenimientos, é aun con todo ello se dispone con gran diligencia y 
caridad en todo lo que cumple á su oficio, y porque sus Altezas re- 
mitieron á mí el salario que acá se le había de dar, porque estando 
acá es cierto quel non toma ni puede haber nada de ninguno, ni 
ganar de su oficio como en Castilla ganaba, ó podria ganar estando 
á su reposo é viviendo de otra manera que acá no vive ; y así que 
como quiera que él jura que es mas lo que allá ganaba allende el 
salario que sus Altezas le dan, j non me quise estender mas de 
cincuenta mil maravedis por el trabajo que acá pasa cada un año 
mientras acá estoviere ; los cuales suplico á sus Altezas le manden 
librar con el sueldo de acá y eso mismo, porque él dice y afirma 
que todos los físicos de vuestras Altezas, que andan en reales ó 
semejantes cosas que estas, suelen haber de derecho un dia de 
sueldo en todo el año de toda la gente : con todo he seido infor- 
mado, y dicenme, que como quier que esto sea, la costumbre es 


am informed for certain, that on whatever service they are 
engaged, it is the custom to give them a certain fixed sum, 
settled at the will and by order of their Highnesses, as com- 
pensation for the said day^s pay. You will, therefore, beg 
their Highnesses to decide this matter, as well with respect 
to the annual pay as to the above-mentioned usage, so that 
the said doctor may be reasonably satisfied. 

Their Highnesses acknowledge the justice of Doctor Chanca' s 
observations, and it is their wish that the Admiral shall pay 
him the sum which he has allowed him, exclusive of his fixed 
annual salary. With respect to the day's pay allowed to 
medical men, it is not the custom to authorize them to receive 
it, except luhen they are in personal attendance upon our Lord 
the King. 

Item. You will tell their Highnesses what great devotion 
Coronel has shown to the service in many respects, and 
what great proofs he has given of it in every important 
matter that has been trusted to him, and how much we feel 
his loss now that he is sick. You will represent to them 
how just it is that he should receive the recompense of such 
good and loyal services, not only in the favours which may 

de darles cierta suma tasada á voluntad y mandamiento de sus 
Altezas en compensa de aquel dia de sueldo. Suplicareis á sus 
Altezas que en ello manden proveer, así en lo del salai"io como de 
esta costumbre, per forma que el dicho Doctor tenga razón de 
ser contento. 

A sus Altezas place desto del Doctor Chanca, y que se le jiague esto 
desde quel Almirante gelo asentó, y que gelos 2iague con lo del sueldo. 

En esto del dia del stieldo de los fisicos, non lo acostumbran haber 
sino donde el Rey nuestro Señor esté en jiersona. 

ítem : Dh'eis á sus Altezas de Coronel cuanto es hombre para 
servir á sus Altezas en muchas cosas, y cuanto ha servido hasta 
aquí en todo lo mas necesario, y la mengua que del sentimos 
ao-ora que está doliente, y que sirviendo de tal manera es razón 
quel sienta el fruto de su servicio, non solo en las mercedes para 


hereafter be shown to hiirij but also in his present pay^ in 
order that he^ and all those that are with uSj may see what 
profit will accrue to them from their zeal in the service ; for 
the importance and difficulty of exploring the mines should 
call for great consideration towards those to whom such ex- 
tensive interests ai^e entrusted ; and, as the talents of the 
said Coronel have made me determine upon appointing him 
principal constable of this portion of the Indies, and, as his 
salary is left open, I beg their Highnesses to make it as 
liberal as may be in consideration of his services, and to 
confirm his nomination to the service which I have allotted 
to him, by giving him an official appointment thereto. 

Their Highnesses grant him, besides his salary, an annual 
pension of fifteen thousand maravedís; the same to he paid 
him, at the same time as the said salary. 

Item. You will, at the same time, tell their Highnesses 
that the bachelor, Gil Garcia, came out here in quality of 
principal alcalde, without having any salary fixed or allowed 
to him : that he is a .good man, well-informed, correct in his 
conduct, and very necessary to us ; and that I beg their 
Highnesses to be pleased to appoint him a salary sufficient 

después mas en lo de su salario en lo presente, en manera quel é 
los que acá están sientan que les aprovecha el servicio, porque 
según el ejercicio que acá se ha de tener en cojer este oro, no son 
de tener en poco las personas en quien tanta diligencia hay : 
y porque por su habilidad se proveyó acá por mí del oficio de 
Alguacil mayor destas Indias, y en la provision va el salario en 
blanco, que suplico á sus Altezas gelo manden henchir como mas 
sea su servicio, mirando sus servicios, confirmándole la provision 
que acá se le dio, e proveyéndole de él de juro. 

Siis Altezas mandan que le asienten quince mil maravedís cada año 
mas de su sueldo, é que se le "paguen cuando le pagaren su sueldo. 

Asimismo diréis á sus Altezas como aquí vino el Bachiller Gil 
García por Alcade mayor é non se le ha consignado ni nombrado 
salario, y es persona de bien y de buenas letras, é diligente, é es 
acá bien necesario ; que suplico á sus Altezas le manden nombrar 


for tis support ; and tliat it be remitted to him together 
with his pay from the other side. 

Their Highnesses grant him an annual pensión of twenig 
thousand maravedís during his stay in tlte Indies, and that over 
and above his fixed appointments ; and it is their order that 
this pension be paid to him at the same time as his salary. 

Item. You will tell their Highnesses, as I have already 
told them in writing, that I think it will be impossible to go 
this year to make discoveries until arrangements have been 
made to work the two rivers in which the gold has been found 
in the most profitable manner for their Highnesses^ interest ; 
and this may be done more effectively hereafter, because it is 
not a thing that every one can do to my satisfaction, or with 
advantage to their Highnesses' service, unless I be present ; 
for whatever is to be done always turns out best under the 
eye of the party interested. 

It is the most necessary thing possible that he should strive 
to find the ivay to this gold. 

Item. You will tell their Highnesses, that the horse-sol- 
diers that came from Grenada to the review which took place 

é consignar su salario, por manera que él se pueda sostener, é le 
sea librado con el dinero del sueldo de acá. 

Sus Altezas le mandan asentar cada año viente mil maravedís en 
tanto que allá estuviere y mas su sueldo, y que gelo paguen cuando 
pagaren el sueldo. 

ítem : Diréis á sus Altezas como quier que ya se lo escribo por 
las cartas, que para este año non entiendo que sea posible ir á des- 
cobrir hasta que esto destos ríos que se bailaron de oro sea puesto 
en el asiento debido á servicio do sus Altezas, que' después mucho 
mejor se podrá facer, porque no es cosa que nadie la podiese facer 
sin mi presencia á mi grado, ni á servicio de sus Altezas, por muy 
bien que lo ficiese, como es en dubda según lo que hombre vee 
por su presencia. 

Trabaje como lo mas preciso que serp>ueda se sepa lo adito de ese oro. 

ítem : Diréis á sus Altezas como los escuderos de caballo qué 
vinieron de Granada, en el alarde que ficieron en Sevilla mostraron 

H % 


at Seville^ offered good horses^ but that at the time of their 
being sent on board, they took advantage of my absence (for 
I was somewhat indisposed), and changed them for others, 
the best of which does not seem worth two thousand mara- 
vedis, for they sold the first and bought these ; and this de- 
ception on the part of the horse-soldiers, is very like what I 
have known to occur to many gentlemen in Seville of my 
acquaintance. It seems that Juan de Soria, after the price 
was paid, for some private interest of his own, put other 
horses in the place of those that I expected to find, and when 
I came to see them, there were horses there that had never 
been offered to me for sale. In all this the greatest dishonesty 
has been shown, so that I do not know whether I ought to 
complain of him alone, since these horse-soldiers have been 
paid their expenses up to the present day, besides their salary 
and the hire of their horses, and when they are ill, they will 
not allow their horses to be used, because they are not pre- 
sent. It is not their Highnesses^ wish that these horses 
should be purchased for anything but their Highnesses^ ser- 
vice, but these men think they are only to be employed on 

buenos caballos, é después al embarcar, yo no lo vi porque estaba un 
poco doliente, y metiéronlos tales quel mejor dellos non parece que 
vale dos mil maravedís, porque vendieron los otros y compraron 
estos, y esto fue de la suerte que se hizo lo de mucha gente que allá 
en los alardes de Sevilla yo vi muy buena ; parece que Juan de 
Soria, después dea dado el dinero del sueldo, por algún interese suyo 
puso otros en lugar de aquellos que yo acá pensaba fallar, y fallo 
gente que yo nunca había visto : en esto ha habido gran maldad, de 
tal manera que yo no sé sí me queje del solo : por esto, visto que 
á estos escuderos se ha fecho la costa hasta aquí, allende de sus 
sueldos y también á sus caballos, y se hace de presente y son 
personas que cuando ellos están dolientes, ó non se les antoja, non 
quieren que sus caballos sirvan sin ellos mismos ; sus Altezas no 
quieren que se les compren estos caballos sino que sirvan á sus 
Altezas, y esto mismo no les paresce que deban servir ni cosa 


work whicli requires them to ride on horse-back, which is 
not the case at present. All these considerations lead me 
to think, that it would be more convenient to buy their 
horses, which are worth but little, and thus avoid being ex- 
posed daily to new disputes ; finally, their Highnesses will 
decide on what plan is best for their own interests. 

llicir Highnesses order Don Juan de Fonseea to make in- 
qiiiries respecting the matter of the horses, and if it he true 
that such a deception has been practised, to send up the culprits 
to he p)unished as they deserve; also to gain information re- 
specting the other people that the admiral speaks of, and to send 
the result of the information to their Highnesses. With respect 
to tlie horse soldiers, it is their Highnesses' wish and command 
that they continue where they are, and remain in service, because 
they belong to the guards and to the class of their Highnesses' 
sonants. Their Highnesses also command the said horse 
soldiers to give up their horses into the charge of the Admiral 
on all occasions when they shall he required, and if the use of 
the horses should occasion any loss, their Highnesses direct that 
compensation shall he made for the amount of the injury, through 
the medium of the Admiral. 

ninguna sino á caballo ; lo cual agora de presente non face mucho 
al caso, é por esto parece que seria mejor comprarles los caballos, 
pues que tan poco valen, y non estar cada dia con ellos en estas 
pendencias ; por ende que sus Altezas determinen esto como fuere 
su servicio. 

Sus Altezas mandan á D. Juan de Fonseca, que se informe de esto 
de estos cahallos, y si se hallare que es verdad que hicieron ese engaño, 
lo envíen ásus Altezas 2)orque lo mandarán castigar ; y también se in- 
forme desto que dice de la otra gente, y envié la pesquisa á sus Altezas : 
y en lo destos escuderos sus Altezas mandan que estén allá y sirvan, 
pues son de las guardas y criados de sus Altezas ; y á tos escuderos 
maridan sus Altezas que den los catxdlos cada vez que fueren menester 
y el Almirante lo mandare, y si algún daño recibieren los caballos 
yendo otros en ellos, por medio del Almirante mandan sus Altezas que 
gelo paguen. 



Item. You will mention to their Highnesses^ that more 
than two hundred persons have come here without fixed sala- 
rieSj and that some of them are very useful to the service; 
and in order to preserve system and uniformity, the others 
have been ordered to imitate them. For the first three years, 
it is desirable that we should have here a thousand men, in 
order to keep a safeguard upon the island and upon the rivers 
that supply the gold : and even if we were able to mount 
a hundred men on horse-back, so far from being an evil, it 
will be a very necessary thing for us; but their Highnesses 
might pass by the question of the horse-men until gold shall 
be sent. In short, their Highnesses should give instructions 
as to whether the two hundred people who have come over 
without pay, should receive pay like the others, if they do 
their work well ; for we certainly have great need of them to 
commence our labours, as I have already shown. 

It is their Highnesses wish and coimnand, that the two 
hundred persons without pay shall replace sueh of those who are 
paid as have failed, or as shall hereafter fail, in thHr duty, 
provided they are fit for the service and please the Admiral; 
and their Highnesses order the Aeconiptant to enter their names 

Item : Diréis á sus Altezas como aquí han venido mas de dosci- 
entas personas sin sueldo, y hay algunos dellos que sirven bien, y 
aun los otros por semejante se mandan que lo hagan así y porque 
para estos primeros tres años será gran bien que aquí estén mil 
hombres para asentar y poner en muy gran seguridad esta Isla y 
rios de oro, y aunque hobiese ciento de caballo non se perdería 
nada, antes parece necesario, aunque en estos de caballo fasta que 
oro se envié sus Altezas podrán sobreceer : con todo á estas 
doscientas personas, que vienen sin sueldo, sus Altezas deben 
enviar á decir si se les pagará sueldo como á los otros sirviendo 
bien, porque cierto son necesarios como dicho tengo para este 

De estas doscientas 2^erso7ias que aqid dice que fueron sin sueldo, 
mandan stcs Altezas qtie entren en lugar de los que han faltado i/f al- 
iaren de los que iban á stieldo, seyendo hábiles y á contentamiento del 


in tlic i)lace of those who shall fail in their duty, as the Admiral 
sludl determine. 

Item. As there are means of diminishing the expenses 
that these people occasion, by employing them, as other 
Princes do, in industrial occupations, I think it would be 
well that all ships that come here should be ordered to bring, 
besides the ordinary stores and medicines, shoes, and leather 
for making shoes, shirts, both of common and superior 
quality, doublets, laces, some peasants^ clothing, breeches, 
and cloth for making clothes, all at moderate prices ; they 
might also bring other articles, such as conserves, which do 
not enter into the daily ration, yet are good for preserving 
health. The Spaniards that are here would always be 
happy to receive such articles as these in lieu of part of 
their pay; and if they were purchased by men who were 
selected for their known loyalty, and who take an interest 
in the service of their Highnesses, considerable economy 
would result from this arrangement. Ascertain their 
Highnesses' pleasure on this head, and if the plan be 
deemed expedient for the service, it should be put in prac- 
tice at once. 

Almitxmie, y sus Altezas mandan al Copilador que los asiente en higar 
de los que faltaren como el Almirante lo dijere. 

ítem : Porque en algo la costa de esta gente se puede aliviar 
con industria y formas que otros Principes suelen tener en otras, 
lo gastado mejor que acá se podria escusar, paresce que seria 
bien mandar traer en los navios que vinieren allende de las otras 
cosas que son para los mantenimientos comunes, y de la botica, 
zapatos y cueras para los mandar facer ; camisas comunes y de 
otras, jubones, lienzo, sayos, calzas, paños para vestir en razon- 
ables precios ; y otras cosas, como son conservas, que son fuera 
de ración, y para conservación de la salud, las cuales cosas todas 
la gente de acá resclbiria de grado en descuento de su sueldo, y si 
allá esto se mercase por Ministros leales y que mirasen el servicio 
de sus Altezas, se ahorraría algo : por ende sabréis la voluntad 
de sus Altezas cerca desto, y si les pareciere ser su servicio luego 
se debe poner en obra. 


Tlds mat(c7' may r^st for the present U7itil the Admiral shall 
write more fully on the suhjeet; tneamohile, Don Jnan de 
Fonseca shall he ordered to instruct Don Ximenes de Bribiesca 
to make the necessary arrangements for the execution of the pro - 
2)osed plans. 

Item. You will tell their Highnesses that^ in a review that 
was holden yesterday^ it was remarked that a great number 
of the people were without arms^ which I think must be attri- 
buted partly to the exchange made at Seville^ or in the har- 
bour^ when those who presented themselves armed were left 
for a while^ and for a trifle exchanged their arms for others 
of an inferior quality. I think it would be desirable that two 
hundred cuirasses, a hundred arquebuses, a hundred arblasts, 
and many other articles of defensive armour, should be sent 
over to us ; for we have great need of them to arm those 
who are at present without them. 

Don Juan de Fonseca has already been written to, to pro- 
vide them. 

Item. Inasmuch as many married persons have come 
over here, and are engaged in regular duties, such as masons 
and other tradesmen, who have left their wives in Spain, 

Por este camino se solía ser fasta que mas escriba el Ahiirante, 
y ya enviarán á mandar á D. Juan de Fonseca con Jimeno de 
Brihiesca que 2^rovea en esto. 

ítem: También diréis á sus Altezas, que por cuanto ayer en el 
alarde que se tomó se falló la gente muy desarmada lo cual pienso 
que en parte contesció por aquel trocar que allá se fizo en 
Sevilla ó en el puerto cuando se dejaron los que se mostraron 
armados, y tomaron otros que daban algo á quien los trocaba, 
paresce que seria bien que se mandasen traer doscientas corazas, 
y cien espingardas y cien ballestas, y mucho almacén, que es la 
cosa que mas menester habernos, y de todas estas armas se podrán 
dar á los desarmados. 

Ya se escribe á D. Juan de Fonseca que 'provea en esto. 

ítem : Por cuanto algunos oficiales que acá vinieron como son 
albañies y de otros oficios, que son casados y tienen sus mugeres 


and wish that the pay that falls due to them may be paid to 
their wiveSj or whomsoever they may appoint, in order that 
they may purchase for them such articles as they may need, 
I therefore beseech their Highnesses to take such measures 
as they may deem expedient on this subject; for it is of 
importance to their interests that these people be well pro- 
vided for. 

Their Highnesses have already ordered Don Juan de Fonseca 
to attend to this matter. 

Item. Besides the other articles which I have begged from 
their Highnesses in the memorial which you bear, signed by 
my hand, and which articles consist of provisions and other 
stores, both for those who are well and for those who are sick, 
it would be very serviceable that fifty pipes of molasses should 
be sent hither from the island of Madeira ; for it is the most 
nutritious food in the world, and the most wholesome. A 
pipe of it does not ordinarily cost more than two ducats, 
exclusive of the casks ; and if their Highnesses would order 
one of the caravels to call at the said island on the return 
voyage, the purchase might be made, and they might, at the 

allá, y querrían que allá lo que se les debe de su sueldo se diese á 
sus mugeres ó á las personas á quien ellos enviaren sus recabdos, 
para que les compren las cosas que acá han menester ; que á sus 
Altezas suplico les mande librar, porque su servicio es que estos 
estén proveidos acá. 

Ya enviaron á mandar sus Altezas á D. Juan de Fonseca que 
provea en esto. 

ítem : Porque allende las otras cosas que allá se envian á pedir 
por los memoriales que lleváis de mi mano firmados, así para man- 
tenimiento de los sanos como para los dolientes, seria muy bien 
que se bebiesen de la isla de la Madera cincuenta pipas de miel 
de azúcar, porque es el mejor mantenimiento del mundo y mas 
sano, y non suele costar cada pipa sino á dos ducados sin el casco, 
y si sus Altezas mandan que á la vuelta pase por allí alguna 
carabela las podrá mercar, y también diez cajas de azúcar que es 
mucho menester, que esta es la mejor sazón del año, digo entre 


same time^ buy ten casks of sugar^ of wliicli we stand greatly 
in need. It is the most favourable season of tlie year to ob- 
tain it at a cheap rate, that is to say, between this and the 
month of April. The necessary orders might be given, if 
their Highnesses think proper, and yet the place of destina- 
tion be carefully concealed. 

Do7i Juan de Fonseca will see to it. 

Item. You will tell their Highnesses that, although the 
rivers contain in their beds the quantity of gold described 
by those who have seen it, there is no doubt that the 
gold is produced not in the rivers but the earth ; and that 
the water happening to come in contact with the mines, 
washes it away mingled with the sand. And as among the 
great number of rivers that have been already discovered 
there are some of considerable magnitude, there are also some 
so small that they might rather be called brooks than rivers, 
only two fingers' breadth deep, and very short in their course; 
there will, therefore, be some men wanted to wash the gold 
from the sand, and others to dig it out of the earth. This 
latter operation will be the principal and the most productive; 
it will be expedient, therefore, that their Highnesses send 

aquí é el mes de Abril para fallarlo, é haber dello buena razón y 
podríase dar orden mandándolo sus Altezas, é que non supiesen 
allá para donde lo quieren. 

D. Juan de Fonseca que provea en esto. 

ítem : Diréis á sus Altezas, por cuanto aunque los ríos tengan 
en la cuantidad que se dice por los que lo han visto, pero que lo 
cierto dello es quel oro non se engendra en los rios mas en la tierra, 
quel agua topando con las minas lo trae envuelto en las arenas, y 
porque en estos tantos rios se han descubierto, como quiera que 
hay algunos graudecitos hay otros tan pequeños que son mas 
fuentes que no rios, que non llevan de dos dedos de agua, y se 
falla luego el cabo doede nasce ; para lo cual non solo serán pro- 
vechosos los lavadores para cogerlo en el arena, mas los otros 
para cavarlo en la tierra, que será lo mas especial é de mayor 
cuantidad ; é por esto será bien que sus Altezas envíen lavadores, 


raen both for the washing and for the mining, from among 
those who are employed in Spain in the mines at Almadén^, 
so that the work may be done in both manners. We shall 
not, however, wait for the arrival of these workmen, but 
hope, with the aid of God and with the washers that we 
have here with us, when they shall be restored to health, to 
send a good quantity of gold by the first caravels that shall 
leave for Spain. 

This shall he completely provided for in the next voyage out; 
meanwhile, Don Juan de Fonseca has their Highnesses' orders 
to send as many miners as lie can find. Their Highnesses 
ivrite also to Almadén, ivith instructions to select the greatest 
number that can be procured, and to send them up. 

Item. You will beseech their Highnesses very humbly in 
my name, to be pleased to pay regard to my strong recom- 
mendation of Villacorta, who, as their Highnesses are aware, 
has been extremely useful, and has shown the greatest pos- 
sible zeal in this affair. As I know him to be a zealous 
man and well disposed to their Highnesses^ service, I shall 
take it as a favour if they will deign to grant him some 

é de los que anclan en las minas allá en Almadén, porque en la 
una manera y en la otra se faga el ejercicio, como quier que acá 
non esperaremos á ellos, que con los lavadores que aquí tenemos, 
esperamos con la ayuda de Dios, si una vez la gente está sana, 
allegar un buen golpe de oro para las primeras carabelas que 

A otro camino se proveerá en esto cwmplidamente ; en tanto mandan 
sus Altezas á D. Juan de Fonseca que envíe luego los mas minadores 
que pudiere haber, y escriben al Almadén, que de alli tomen los que 
mas pudiei'en y los envíen. 

ítem: Suplicareis á sus Altezas de mi parte muy humildemente, 
que quieran tener por muy encomendado á Villacorta, el cual, como 
sus Altezas saben, ha mucho sei'vido en esta negociación, y con 
muy buena voluntad, y según le conozco persona diligente y afeci- 

' In La Mancha, New Castile, famous for mines of quicksilver. 


post of trust adapted to his qualifications, and in which 
he might give proof of his industry and warm desire to serve 
their Highnesses : and you will manage that Villacorta shall 
have practical evidence that the work which he has done for 
me_, and in which I found him needful to me, has been of 
some profit to him. 

This sJball he done as he wishes. 

Item. That the said Messire Pedro, Gaspar, Beltran, and 
others remaining here, came out in command of caravels 
which have now gone back, and are in receipt of no salary 
whatever ; but as these are people who should be employed 
in the most important and confidential positions, their pay 
has not been fixed, because it ought to be different from that 
of the rest ; you will beg their Highnesses, therefore, on 
my behalf, to settle what ought to be given them either yearly 
or monthly, for the advantage of their Highnesses^ service. 

Given in the City of Isabella, the thirtieth of January, in 
the year fourteen hundred and ninety-four. 

This point has been already replied to above ; but as in 
the said clause he says that they should receive their pay, 

onada á su servicio ; rescebiré merced que se le dé algún cargo de 
confianza, para lo cual él ser sufficiente, y pueda mostrar su deseo 
de servir y diligencia, y esto procurareis por forma que el Villa- 
corta conozca por la obra que lo que ha trabajado por mi en lo 
que yo le hobe menester le aprovecha en esto. 

Asi se hará. 

ítem : Que los dichos M osen Pedro y Gaspar y Beltran, y otros 
que han quedado acá, trajieron capitanías de carabelas, que son 
agora vueltas, y non gozan del sueldo ; pero porque son tales per- 
sonas, que se han de poner en cosas pi^incipales y de confianza, non 
se les ha determinado el sueldo que sea diferenciado de los otros : 
suplicareis de mi parte á sus Altezas determinen lo que se les ha de 
dar en cada un año, o por meses, como mas fueren servidos. Fecho 
en la ciudad Isabela á treinta dias de Enero de mil cuatrocientos 
y noventa y cuatro años. 

Ya está respondido arriba, pero p)orque en tí dicho capitulo (¿ue en 


it is HOW ilieir Higlmesscs' command that tlieir salnnj shall 
he paid to them from the time that they gave up their com- 

esto hahia dice que gozan del salai'io, desde agora mandan sus Altezas 
que se les cuenten á todos sus salarios desde que dejaron las capi- 



Narrative of the Voyage ivhich Don Christopher Columbus 
made the third time that he came to the Indies, when he 
discovered terra firma, as he sent it to their Majesties from 
the Island of Hispaniola. 

Most serene and most exalted and powerful Princes, the 
King and Queen, our Sovereigns : The Blessed Trinity 
moved your Highnesses to this enterprise of the Indies ; and 
of His Infinite goodness has chosen me to pr-oclaim it to 
you ; wherefore as His ambassador I approached your royal 
presence, moved by the consideration that I was appeaUng 
to the most exalted monarchs in Christendom, who exercised 
so great an influence over the Christian faith, and its ad- 
vancement in the world. Those who heard of it looked upon 
it as impossible, for they fixed all their hopes on the favours 


La historia del viage q\iel Almirante D. Cristobal Colon hizo la ter- 
cera vez qiie vino á las Indias cíiaiido descxibrió la tierra firme, 
como lo envió á los Reyes desde la Isla Española. 

Serenísimos é muy altos é muy poderosos Príncipes Rey é Reina 
nuestros Señores : La Santa Trinidad movió á vuestras Altezas á 
esta empresa de las Indias, y por su infinita bondad hizo á mí 
mensagero dello, al cual vine con el embajada á su Real conspetu, 
movido como á los mas altos Príncipes de cristianos y que tanto 
se ejercisaban en la fé y acrecentamiento della ; las pei'sonas que 
entendieron en ello lo tuvieron por imposible, y el caudal hacían 
sobre bienes de fortuna, y allí echaron el clavo. Puse en esto seis 


of fortune^ and pinned their faith solely upon chance. I 
gave to the subject six or seven years of great anxiety, 
explaining, to the best of my ability, how great service 
might be done to our Lord, by this undertaking, in pro- 
mulgating His sacred name and our holy faith among so 
many nations ; — an enterprise so exalted in itself, and so 
calculated to enhance the glory and immortalise the re- 
nown of great sovereigns. It was also requisite to refer 
to the temporal prosperity which was foretold in the writings 
of so many trustworthy and wise historians, who related 
that great riches were to be found in these parts. At 
the same time I thought it desirable to bring to bear upon 
the subject the sayings and opinions of those who have 
written upon the geography of the world, and finally, your 
Highnesses came to the determination that the undertaking 
should be entered upon. In this your Highnesses exhibited 
the noble spirit which has been always manifested by you on 
every great subject ; for all others who had thought of the 
matter or heard it spoken of, unanimously treated it with 
contempt, with the exception of two friars,^ who always re- 

Ó siete años de grave pena, amostrando lo mejor que yo sabia 
cuanto sei^vicio se podía hacer á nuestro Señor en esto en divulgar 
su santo nombre y Fé á tantos pueblos ; lo cual todo era cosa de 
tanta excelencia y buena fama y gran memoria para grandes 
Príncipes : fue también necesario de hablar del temporal adonde se 
les amostró el escrebir de tantos sabios dignos de fé, los cuales 
escribieron historias. Los cuales contaban que en estas partes 
habia muchas riquezas, y asimismo fue necesario traer á esto el 
decir é epinion de aquellos que escribieron é situaron el mundo : 
en fin vuestras Altezas determinaron questo se pusiese en obra. 
Aquí mostraron el grande corazón que siempre ficieron en toda 
cosa grande, porque todos los que habían entendido en ello y oído 
esta platica todos á una mano lo tenían á burla, salvo dos frailes 

' These were Fray Juan Perez de Marcheua, a Franciscan, keeper of 
the Convent de la Rábida, and Fray Diejo de Deza, a Dominican, after- 
wards Archbishop of Seville. 


mained constant in their belief of its practicabilty. I, my- 
self, in spite of fatiguing opposition^ felt sure that the enter- 
prise would nevertheless prosper, and continue equally con- 
fident of it to this day, because it is a truth, that though 
everything will pass away, the Word of God will not, and 
everything that he has said will be fulfilled ; who so clearly 
spoke of these lands, by the mouth of the prophet Isaiah, 
in so many places in Scripture, that from Spain the holy 
name of God was to be spread abroad. Thus I departed in 
the name of the Holy Trinity, and returned very soon, 
bringing with me an account of the practical fulfilment of 
everything I had said. Your Highnesses again sent me 
out, and in a short space of time, by God^s mercy, not by^ 
I discovered three hundred and thirty-three 
leagues of terra firma on the eastern side, and seven hundred 
islands," besides those which I discovei-ed on the first voyage; 

que siempre fueron constantes. Yo, bien que llevase fatiga, estaba 
bien seguro que esto no vernia á menos, y estoy de contino, porque 
es verdad que todo pasará, y no la palabra de Dios, y se complirá 
todo lo que dijo ; el cual tan claro habló de estas tierras por la 
boca de Isaías en tantos lugares de su Escriptura, afirmando que 
de España les seria divulgado su santo nombre. E partí en nombre 
de la Santa Trinidad, y volví muy presto con la experiencia de 
todo cuanto yo habia dicho en la mano : tornáronme á enviar 
vuestras Altezas, y en poco espacio digo, no de le descubrí 

por virtud divinal trescientas y treinta y tres leguas de la tierra 
firme, fin de Oriente, y setcentas [sic] islas de nombre, allende de 

2 A similar gap in tlie original. 

- He did not discover terra firma in the second voyage as he here says, 
but imagined the island of Cuba to be terra ñrma, because he was unable 
to explore it fully ; nor was it ascertained to be an island till two years 
after his death, when, by order of the king, the Comendador Mayor 
Nicolas Ovando gave Sebastian de Ocampo a commission to circum- 
navigate the island, and he explored the whole coast in the year 1508. 
(See Herrera, Dec. i, lib. 7, cap. i.) Amongst the number of these 
islands, Columbus doubtless included many of those to the south of 
Cuba, lying in the part which he called the Queen's Gardens. 


I also succeeded in circumnavigating the island of Española, 
which is larger in circumference than all Spain, the in- 
habitants of which are countless, and all of whom may be 
laid under tribute. It was then that complaints arose, dis- 
paraging the enterprise that I had undertaken, because, for- 
sooth, I had not immediately sent the ships home laden with 
gold, — no allowance being made for the shortness of the 
time, and all the other impediments of which I have already 
spoken. On this account (either as a punishment for my 
sins, or, as I trust, for my salvation), I was held in detesta- 
tion, and had obstacles placed in the way of every thing I 
said, or for which I petitioned. I therefore resolved to apply 
to your Highnesses, to inform you of all the wonderful events 
that I had experienced, and to explain the reason of every 
proposition that I made, making reference to the nations 
that I had seen, among whom, and by whose instrumentality, 
many souls may be saved. I related how the natives of 
Española had been laid under tribute to your Highnesses, 
and regarded you as their sovereigns. And I laid before 
your Highnesses abundant samples of gold and copper, — 
proving the existence of extensive mines of those metals. I 

lo descubierto en el primero víage, y le allané la Isla Española que 
hoja mas que España, en que la gente della es sin cuento, y que 
todos le pagasen tributo. Nació allí mal decir y menosprecio de 
la empresa comenzada en ello, porque no laabia yo enviado luego 
los navios cargados de oro, sin considerar le brevedad del tiempo, 
y lo otro que yo dije de tantos inconvenientes ; y en esto por mis 
pecados ó por mi salvación creo que será, fue puesto en aborreci- 
miento y dado impedimento á cuanto yo decia y demandaba ; por 
lo cual acordé de venir á vuestras Altezas, y maravillarme de todo, 
y mostrarles la razón que en todo habia, y les dige de los pueblos 
que yo habia visto, en qué ó de qué se podrían salvar muchas 
animas, y les truje las obligaciones de la gente de la Isla Española, 
de como se obligaban á pagar tributo é les tenían por sos Reyes 
y Señores, y les truje abastante muestra de oro, y que hay mineros 
y granos muy grandes, y asimismo de cobre; y les truje de muchns 


also laid before your Highnesses many sorts of spices, too 
numerous to detail ; and I spoke of the great quantity of 
brazil-wood, and numberless other articles found in those 
lands. All this was of no avail with some persons, who 
began, with determined hatred, to speak ill of the enterprise, 
not taking into account the service done to our Lord in the 
salvation of so many souls, nor the enhancement of your 
Highnesses' greatness to a higher pitch than any earthly 
prince has yet enjoyed ; nor considering, that from the ex- 
ercise of your Highnesses' goodness, and the expense in- 
curred, both spiritual and temporal advantage was to be ex- 
pected, and that Spain must in the process of time derive 
from thence, beyond all doubt, an unspeakable increase of 
wealth. This might be manifestly seen by the proofs given 
in the written descriptions of the voyages already made, 
showing that the fulfilment of every other hope may be rea- 
sonably expected. Nor were they affected by the considera- 
tion of what great princes throughout the world have done 
to increase their fame : as, for example, Solomon, who sent 
from Jerusalem, to the uttermost parts of the east, to see 
Mount Sopora [^(Oípíp, Ophir], in which expedition his ships 
were detained three years ; and which mountain your High- 

maneras de especerías, de que seria largo de escrebir, y les dije 
de la gran cantidad de brasil, y otras infinitas cosas. Todo no 
aprovechó para con algunas personas que tenían gana y dado 
comienzo á mal decir del negocio, ni entrar con fabla del servicio 
de nuestro Señor con se salvar tantas animas, ni á decir questo 
era grandeza de vuesti^as Altezas, de la mejor calidad que hasta 
hoy haya usado Príncipe, por quel ejercicio é gasto era para el 
espiritual y temporal, y que no podia ser que andando el tiempo 
no hobiese la España de aquí grandes provechos, pues que se 
veían las señales que escribieron de lo de estas partidas tan mani- 
fiestas ; que también se llegaría á ver todo el otro complimiento, 
ni á decir cosas que usaron grandes Principes en el mundo jDara 
crecer su fama, así como de Salomon que envió desde Hierusalem 
en fin de Oriente á ver el monte Sopora, en que se detuvieron los 


iiesses now possess in the island of Española. Nor, as 
in the case of Alexander, who sent to observe the mode of 
government in the island of Taprobana,^ in India; and Cassar 
Nero, to explore the sources of the Nile/ and to learn the 
causes of its increase in the summer, when water is needed ; 
and many other mighty deeds that princes have done, and 
which it is allotted to princes to achieve. Nor was it of any 
avail that no prince of Spain, as far as I have read, has ever 
hitherto gained possession of land out of Spain ; and that 
the world of which I speak is different from that of which 
the Eomans, and Alexander, and the Greeks made mighty 
efforts with great armies to gain possession. Nor have they 
been affected by the recent noble example of the kings of 
Portugal, who have had the courage to explore as far as 
Guinea, and to make the discovery of it, expending so much 
gold and so many lives in the undertaking, that a calculation 
of the population of the kingdom would show that one half 
of them have died in Guinea : and though it is now a long 

navios tres años, el cual tienen vuestras Altezas agora en la Isla 
Española ; ni de Alejandre, que envió á ver el regimiento de la 
Isla de Trapobana en India, y Ñero Cesar á ver las fuentes del 
Nilo, y la razón porque crecían en el verano, cuando las aguas son 
pocas, y otras muchas grandezas que hicieron Príncipes, y que á 
Príncipes son estas cosas dadas de hacer ; ni valia decir que yo 
nunca habia leído que Príncipes de Castilla jamas hobiesen ganado 
tierra fuera della, y que esta de acáes otro mundo en que se 
trabajaron Romanos y Alejandre y Griegos, para la haber con 
grandes ejercicios, ni decir del presente de los Reyes de Portugal, 
que tovieron corazón para sostener á Guinea, y del descobrir della, 
y que gastaron oro y gente á tanta, que quien contase toda la del 
Reino se hallarla que otra tanta como la mitad son muertos en 
Guinea, y todavía la continuaron hasta que les salió dello lo que 

' Ceylon, 

2 These examples quoted by the admiral from ancient history, are com- 
mented upon very learnedly, and at considerable length, by his historian, 
Las Casas, in chapters 128 and 120 of his nnpnblislied hlMory. (Navar- 



time since they commenced these great exertions, the return 
for their labour and expense has hitherto been but trifling ; 
this people has also dared to make conquests in Africa, and 
to carry on their exploits to Ceuta, Tangier, Argilla, and 
Alcazar, repeatedly giving battle to the Moors ; and all this 
at great expense ; simply because it was an exploit worthy 
of a prince, undertaken for the service of God, and to advance 
the enlargement of His kingdom. The more I said on the 
subject, the more two-fold was reproach cast upon it, even 
to the expression of abhorrence, no consideration being given 
to the honour and fame that accrued to your Highnesses 
throughout all Christendom from your Highnesses having 
undertaken this enterprise ; so that there was neither great 
nor small who did not desire to hear tidings of it. Your 
Highnesses replied to me encouragingly, and desired that I 
should pay no regard to those who spoke ill of the under- 
taking, inasmuch as they had received no authority or 
countenance whatever from your Highnesses. 

I started from San Lucar, in the name of the most Holy 
Trinity, on Wednesday the 30th of May,^ much fatigued with 

parece, lo cual todo comenzaron de largo tiempo, y hay muy poco 
que les da renta ; los cuales también osaron conquistar en Africa, 
y sostener la empresa á Cepta, Tanjar y Arcilla, é Alcazar, y 
de contino dar guerra á los moros, y todo esto con grande gasto, 
solo por hacer cosa de Príncipe servir á Dios y acrecentar su 

Cuanto yo mas decia tanto mas se doblaba á poner esto á vitu- 
perio, amostrando en ello aborrecimiento, sin considerar cuánto 
bien pareció en todo el mundo, y cuánto bien se dijo en todos los 
cristianos de vuestras Altezas por haber tomado esta empresa, 
que no hobo grande ni pequeño que no quisiese dello carta. 
Respondiéronme vuestras Altezas riéndose y diciendo que yo no 
curase de nada porque no daban autoridad ni creencia á quien 
les mal decia de esta empresa. 

Partí en nombre de la Santísima Trinidad, Miércoles 30 de 
' Of the year 1498. 


my voyage, for I had hoped, when I left the Indies, to find 
repose in Spain ; whereas, on the contrary, I experienced 
nothing but opposition and vexation. I sailed to the island 
of Madeira by a circuitous route, in order to avoid any en- 
counter with an armed fleet from France,^ which was on the 
look out for me off Cape St. Vincent. Thence I went to 
the Canaries,^ from which islands 1 sailed with but one ship 
and two caravels, having dispatched the other ships to Espa- 
ñola by the direct road to the [ndies -^ while I myself moved 
southward, with the view of reaching the equinoctial line, 
and of then proceeding westward, so as to leave the island of 
Española to the north. But having reached the Cape Verde 
islands* (an incorrect name^, for they are so barren that nothing 

Mayo de la villa de S. Liicar, bien fatigado de mi viage, que 
adonde esperaba descanso, cuando yo partí de estas ludias, se me 
dobló la pena, y navegué á la Isla de la Madera por camino no 
acostumbrado, por evitar escándalo que pudiera tener con un 
armada de Francia, que me aguardaba al Cabo de S. Vicente, y 
de allí á las Islas de Canaria, de adonde me partí con una nao y 
dos carabelas, y envié los otros navios á derecho camino á las 
Indias á la Isla Española, y yo navegué al Austro con propósito 
de llegar á la línea equinocial, y de allí seguir al Poniente basta 

^ Herrera says (Dec. i, lib. 3, cap. 9) that it was a Portuguese squad- 
ron ; '[[¡ut Las Casas (cap. 30) distinctly states it to have been French. 

- Herrera and Don Ferdinand Columbus say that he reached the 
island of Puerto Santo on the seventh of June, from which island he 
sailed directly for Madeira, and thence to Gomera, which he reached on 
the nineteenth, and put to sea again on the twenty-first. 

3 The commanders of the three ships which the admiral despatched to 
Española, were Pedro de Arana, native of Cordova, brother to the 
mother of Ferdinand Columbus ; Alonzo Sanchez de Carabajal, magis- 
trate of Baeza ; and Juan Antonio Columbus, a relative of the admiral ; 
all of whom were known to and are spoken of by F. Bartolomé de Las 
Casas, in chapter 130 of his unpublished history. (Navarrete.) 

* This was on the twenty -seventh of June. He anchored in the 
island of Sal, and on the thirtieth proceeded to the island of Santiago, 
from whence he put to sea again on the fourth of July. 

* The islands took the name from the Cape itself, not from the ver- 
dure which had caused that name to be given to the Cape. The Cape 



green was to be seen there, and the people so sickly that I 
did not venture to remain among them), I sailed away four 
hundred and eighty miles, which is equivalent to a hundred 
and twenty leagues, towards the south-west, where, when it 
grew dark, I found the north star to be in the fifth degree. 
The wind then failed me, and I entered a climate where the 
intensity of the heat was such, that I thought both ships and 
men would have been burnt up, and everything suddenly got 
into such a state of confusion, that no man dared go below 
deck to attend to the securing of the water-cask and the pro- 
visions. This heat lasted eight days ; on the first day the 
weather was fine, but on the seven other days it rained and 
was cloudy, yet we found no alleviation of our distress ; so 
that I certainly believe, that if the sun had shone as on the 
first day, we should not have been able to escape in any way. 
I recollect, that in sailing towards the Indies, as soon as I 
passed a hundred leagues to the westward of the Azores, I 
found the temperature change : and this is so all along from 

que la Isla Española me quedase al Septentrión, y llegado á las 
Islas de Cabo Verde, falso nombre, porque son atan secas que no 
vi cosa verde en ellas, y toda la gente enferma, que no osé de- 
tenerme en ellas, y navegué al Sudueste cuatrocientas y ochenta 
millas, que son ciento y veinte leguas, adonde en anocheciendo 
tenia la estrella del norte en cinco grados ; allí me desamparó el 
viento y entré en tanto ardor y tan grande que creí que se me 
quemasen los navios y gente, que todo de un golpe vino á tan 
desordenado, que no había persona que osase descender debajo 
de cubierta á remediar la vasija y mantenimientos ; duró este 
ardor ocho días ; al primer día fue claro, y los siete días siguientes 
llovió ó hizo ñumblado, y con todo no fallamos remedio, que cierto 
si así fuera de sol como el primero, yo creo que no pudiera escapar 
en ninguna manera. 

Verde was discovered by Diniz Días about 1445 : the Cape Verde 
Islands were discovered in 1460 by Diogo Gomez, as shown for the first 
time in my Prince Henry the Naviijator, pp. 297-298, and not by An- 
tonio de Nolle in 14,57, as incorrectly stated by Cadamosto. 


nortli to south. I determined^ therefore, if it should please 
the Lord to give me a favourable wind and good weather, so 
that I might leave the part where I then was, that I would 
give up pursuing the southward course, yet not turn back- 
wards, but sail towards the west, moving in that direction in 
the hope of finding the same temperature that I had experi- 
enced when I sailed in the parallel of the Canaries, — and 
then, if it proved so, I should still be able to proceed more 
to the south . At the end of these eight days it pleased our 
Lord to give me a favourable east wind, and I steered to the 
west, but did not venture to move lower down towards the 
south, because I discovered a very great change in the sky 
and the stars, although I found no alteration in the tempe- 
rature. I resolved, therefore, to keep on the direct west- 
ward course, in a line from Sierra Leone, and not to change 
it until I reached the point where I had thought I should 
find land, where I would repair the vessels, and renew, if 
possible, our stock of provisions, and take in what water 
we wanted. At the end of seventeen days, duriiig which 
our Lord gave me a propitious wind, we saw land at noon of 

Acordóme que navegando á las Indias siempre que yo paso al 
Poniente de las Islas de los Azores cien leguas, allí fallo mudar la 
temperanza, y esto es todo de Septentrión en Austro, y determiné 
que si á nuestro Señor le pluguiese de me dar viento y buen 
tiempo que pudiese salir de adonde estaba, de dejar de ir mas al 
Austro, ni volver tampoco atrás, salvo de navegar al Poniente, á 
tanto que ya llegase á estar con esta raya con esperanza que yo 
fallarla allí así temperamiento, como habia fallado cuando yo 
navegaba en el paralelo de Canaria. E que si así fuese que en- 
tonces yo podría ir mas al Austro, y plugo á nuestro Señor que al 
cabo de estos ocho días de me dar buen viento Levante, y yo 
seguí al Poniente, mas no osé declinar abajo al Austro porque 
fallé grandísimo mudamiento en el cielo y en las estrellas, mas 
non fallé mudamiento en la temperancia ; así acordé de proseguir 
delante siempre justo al Poniente, en aquel derecho déla Sierra 
Lioa, con propósito de non mudar derrota fasta adonde yo habia 


Tuesday tlie 31st of July.^ This I had expected on the 
Monday before, and held that route up to this point ; but 
as the sun^s strength increased, and our supply of water was 
failing, I resolved to make for the Caribee Islands, and set 
sail in that direction ; when, by the mercy of God, which He 
has always extended to me, one of the sailors went up to 
the main-top and saw to the westward a range of three 
mountains. Upon this we repeated the '^ Salve Regina," 
and other prayers, and all of us gave many thanks to our 
Lord. I then gave up our northward course, and put in for 
the land : at the hour of complines we reached a cape, which 
I called Cape Galea," having already given to the island the 
name of Trinidad, and here we found a harbour, which would 
have been excellent but there was no good anchorage. We 
saw houses and people on the spot, and the country around 
was very beautiful, and as fresh and green as the gardens 
of Valencia in the month of March. I was disappointed at 

pensado que fallaría tierra, y allí adobar los navios, y remediar sí 
pudiese los mantenimientos y tomar agua que no tenia ; y al cabo 
de diez y siete días, los cuales nuestro Señor me dio de próspero 
viento, Martes 31 de Julio á medio día nos amostró tierra é yo la 
esperaba el Lunes antes, y tuve aquel camino fasta entonces, que 
en saliendo el sol, por defecto del agua que no tenía, determiné 
de andar á las Islas de los Caríbales, y tomé esa vuelta ; y como 
su alta Magestad baya siempre usado de misericordia conmigo, 
por acertamiento subió un marinero á la gavia, y vido al Poniente 
tres montanas juntas : dijimos la Salve Regina y otras prosas, y 
dimos todos muchas gracias á nuestro Señor, y después dejé el 
camino de Septentrión, y volví bacía la tierra, adonde yo llegué á 
hora de completas á un Cabo á que dije de la Galea después de 
haber nombrado á la Isla de la Trinidad, y allí hobiera muy buen 
puerto sí fuera fondo, y había casas y gente, y muy lindas tierras, 

1 It was first seen by a mariner of Huelva, a servant of the admiral, 
named Alonzo Perez. (Navarrete.) 

2 It is now called Cape Galeota, and is the most south-eastern poiut 
of the island of Trinidad. 


not being able to put into the harbour, and ran along the 
coast to the westward. After sailing five leagues I found 
very good bottom and anchored. The next day I set sail 
in the same direction, in search of a hai'bour where I might 
repair the vessels and take in water, as well as improve the 
stock of provisions which I had brought out with me. When 
we had taken in a pipe of water, we proceeded onwards till 
we reached the cape, and there finding good anchorage and 
protection from the east wind, I ordered the anchors to be 
dropped, the water-cask to be repaired, a supply of water 
and wood to be taken in, and the people to rest themselves 
from the fatigues which they had endured for so long a time. 
I gave to this point the name of Sandy Point (Punta del 
Arenal). All the ground in the neighbourhood was filled 
with foot-marks of animals, like the impression of the foot 
of a goat ;^ but although it would have appeared from this 
circumstance that they were very numerous, only one was 
seen, and that was dead. On the following day a large 
canoe came from the eastward, containing twenty-four men, 
all in the prime of life, and well provided with arms, such 
as bows, arrows, and wooden shields ; they were all, as I 

atan fermosas j verdes come las huertas de Valencia en Marzo. 
Pesóme cuando no pude entrar en el puerto, y corrí la costa de 
esta tierra del luengo fasta el poniente, y andadas cinco leguas 
fallé muy buen fondo y surgí, y en el otro dia di la vela á este 
camino buscando puerto para adobar los navios y tomar agua, y 
remediar el trigo y los bastimentos que llevaba solamente. Allí 
tomé una pipa de agua, y con ella anduve ansi hasta llegar al 
cabo, y allí fallé abrigo de Levante y buen fondo, y así mandé 
surgir y adobar la vasija y tomar agua y leña, y descendir la 
gente á descansar de tanto tiempo que andaban penando. 

A esta punta llamé del Arenal, y allí se falló toda la tierra fol- 
lada de unas animabas que tenían la pata como de cabra, y bien 
que según parece ser allí haya muchas, no se vido sino una 
muerta. El dia siguiente vino de hacia oriente una grande canoa 
con veinte y cuatro hombres, todos mancebos é muy ataviados 
' lu all probability deer. 


have said, young, well-proportioned, and not dark black, 
but whiter than any other Indians that I had seen, — of 
very graceful gesture and handsome forms, wearing their 
hair long and straight, and cut in the Spanish style. Their 
headswere bound round with cotton scarfs elaborately worked 
in colours, which resembled the Moorish head-dresses. 
Some of these scarfs were worn round the body and used 
as a covering in lieu of trousers. The natives spoke to us 
from the canoe while it was yet at a considerable distance, 
but none of us could understand them ; I made signs to 
them, however, to come nearer to us, and more than two 
hours were spent in this manner, — but if by any chance they 
moved a little nearer, they soon pushed on" again. I caused 
basins and other shining objects to be shown to them to 
tempt them to come near ; and after a long time, they came 
somewhat nearer than they had hitherto done, — upon which, 
as I was very anxious to speak with them and had nothing 
else to show them to induce them to approach, I ordered 
a drum to be played upon the quarter-deck, and some of 
our young men to dance, believing the Indians would come 
to see the amusement. No sooner, however, did they per- 

de armas, arcos y flechas y tablachinas, y ellos, como dije, todos, 
mancebos, de buena disposición y no negros, salvo mas blancos 
que otros que haya visto en las Indias, y de may lindo gesto, y 
fermosos cuerpos, y los cabellos largos y llanos, cortados á la 
guisa Castilla, y traían la cabeza atada con un pañuelo de algodón 
tejido á labores y colores, el cual creia yo que era almaizar. Otro 
de estos pañuelos traían ceñido é se cobijaban con él en lugar de 
pañetes. Cuando llegó esta canoa habló de muy lejos, é yo ni 
otro ninguno no los entendiamos, salvo que yo les mandaba hacer 
señas que se allegasen, y en esto se pasó mas de dos horas, y si 
se llegaban un poco luego se desviaban. Yo les hacia mostrar 
bacines y otras cosas que lucían por enamorarlos porque viniesen, 
y á cabo de buen rato se allegaron mas que hasta entonces no 
habían, y yo deseaba mucho haber lengua, y no tenía ya cosa que 
me pareciese que era de mostrarles para que viniesen ; salvo que 


ceive the beating of the drum and the dancing, than they 
all left their oars, and strung their bows, and each man lay- 
ing hold of his shield, they commenced discharging their 
arrows at us; upon this, the music and dancing soon ceased, 
and I ordered a charge to be made from some of our cross- 
bows; they then left us, and went rapidly to the other ca- 
ravel, and placed themselves under its poop. The pilot of 
that vessel received them courteously, and gave to the man 
who appeared to be their chief, a coat and hat ; and it was 
then arranged between them, that he should go to speak with 
him on shore. Upon this the Indians immediately went 
thither and waited for him ; but as he would not go without 
my permission, he came to my ship in a boat, whereupon 
the Indians got into their canoe again and went away, and 
I never saw any more of them or of any of the other inhabi- 
tants of the island. When I reached the point of Arenal, 
I found that the island of Trinidad formed with the land of 
Gracia^ a strait of two leagues^ width from west to east, and 
as we had to pass through it to go to the north, we found 

hice sobir un tamborín en el castillo ele popa que tañesen, é unos 
mancebos que danzasen, creyendo que se allegarían á ver la 
fiesta ; y luego que vieron tañer y danzar todos dejaron los remos 
y echaron mano á los arcos y los encordaron, y embrazo cada uno 
su tablachina, y comenzaron á tirarnos flechas : cesó luego el 
tañer y danzar, y mandé luego sacar unas ballestas, y ellos de- 
járonme y fueren á mas andar á otra carabela y de golpe se 
fueron debajo la popa della, y el piloto entró con ellos, y dio un 
sayo é un bonete á un hombre principal que le pareció dellos, y 
quedó concertado que le iria hablar allí en la playa, adonde ellos 
luego fueron con la canoa esperándole, y él como no quiso ir sin mi 
licencia, como ellos le vieron venir á la nao con la barca, tornaron 
á entrar en la canoa é se fueron, é nunca mas los vide ni á otros 
de esta isla. 

Cuando yo llegué á esta punta del Arenal, allí se hace una boca 
grande de dos leguas de Poniente á Levante, la Isla de la Trinidad 
' Coast of Paria. 


some strong currents which crossed the strait, and which 
made a great roaring, so that I concluded there must be a 
reef of sand or rocks, which would preclude our entrance ; 
and behind this current was another and another, all making 
a roaring noise like the sound of breakers against the rocks. 
I anchored there, under the said point of Arenal, outside of the 
strait, and found the water rush from east to west with as 
much impetuosity as that of the Guadalquivir at its conflux 
with the sea ; and this continued constantly day and night, 
so that it appeared to be impossible to move backwards for 
the current or forwards for the shoals. In the dead of night, 
while I was on deck, I heard an awful roaring that came 
from the south towards the ship ; I stopped to observe what 
it might be, and I saw the sea rolling from west to east like 
a mountain as high as the ship, and approaching by little and 
little j on the top of this rolling sea came a mighty wave 
roaring with a frighful noise and the same terrific uproar 
as the other currents, producing, as I have already said. 

con la tierra de Gracia y que para haber de entrar dentro para 
pasar al Septentrión habia unos hileros de corrientes que atrave- 
saban aquella boca y traían un rugir muy grande, y creí yo que 
sería un arrecife de bajos é peñas, por el cual no se ponria entrar 
dentro en ella, y detras de este hilero habia otro y otro que todos 
traían un rugir grande como ola de la mar que va á romper y dar 
en peñas. Surgí allí á la dicha punta del Arenal, fuera de la dicha 
boca, y fallé que venia el agua del Oriente fasta el Poniente con 
tanta furia como hace Guadalquivir en tiempo de avenida, y esto 
de contino noche y día, que creí quo no podría volver atrás por la 
corriente, ni ir adelante por los bajos ; y en la noche ya muy tarde, 
estando al bordo de la nao, oí un rugir muy terrible que venia de 
la parte del Austro hacia la nao, y me paré á mirar, y vi levan- 
tando la mar de Poniente á Levante, en manera de una loma tan 
alta como la nao, y todavía venia hacia mi poco á poco, y encima 
della venia un filero de corriente que venia rugiendo con muy 
grande estrépito con aquella furia de aquel rugir que de los otros 
hileros que yo dije que me parecían ondas de mar que daban en 


a sound as of breakers upon the rocks/^ To this day I 
have a vivid recollection of the dread I then felt, lest the 
ship might founder under the force of that tremendous sea ; 
but it passed by, and reached the mouth of the before- 
mentioned passage, where the uproar lasted for a considerable 
time. On the following day I sent out boats to take sound- 
ings, and found that in the strait, at the deepest part of the 
embouchure, there were six or seven fathoms of water, and 
that there were constant contrary currents, one running in- 
wards, and the other outwards. It pleased the Lord, however, 
to give us a favourable wind, and I passed inwards through 
that strait, and soon came to still water. In fact some water 
which was drawn up from the sea, proved to be fresh. I 
then sailed northwards till I came to a very high mountain, 
at about twenty-six leagues from the Punta del Arenal ; here 
two lofty headlands appeared, one towards the east, and 
forming part of the island of Trinidad,^ and the other, on 
the west, being part of the land which I have already called 
Gracia f we found here a channel still narrower than that of 
Arenal,"^ with similar currents, and a tremendous roaring of 

peñas, que hoy en dia tengo el miedo en el cuerpo que no me 
trabucasen la nao cuando llegasen debajo dalla, y passó y llegó 
fasta la boca adonde allí se detuvo grande espacio. Y el otro dia 
siguiente envié las barcas á sondar y fallé en el mas bajo de la 
boca, que había seis ó siete brazas de fondo, y de contino andaban 
aquellos hileros unos por entrar y otros por salir, y plugo á 
nuestro Señor de me dar buen viento, y atravesé por esa boca 
adentro, y luego hallé tranquilidad, y por acertamiento se sacó del 
agua de la mar y la hallé dulce. Navegué al Septentrión fasta 
una sierra muy alta, adonde serian veinte y seis leguas de esta 
punta del Arenal, y allí habia dos cabos de tierra muy alta, el uno 
de la parte del Oriente, y era de la misma Isla de la Trinidad, y 
el otro del Occidente de la tierra que dije de Gracia, y allí hacia 

' Produced by the confluence of the Oronoco with the sea. See 
Rapiu, Hist. Phil., vol. iv, p. 272. 

- Point Peña Blanca. ^ Point Peña. * Serpent's Mouth. 


water ; the water here also was fresh. Hitherto I had held 
no communication with any of the people of this country, 
although I very earnestly desired it ; I therefore sailed along 
the coast westwards, and the further I advanced, the fresher 
and more wholesome I found the water ; and when I had 
proceeded a considerable distance, I reached a spot where the 
land appeared to be cultivated. There I anchored, and sent 
the boats ashore, and the men who went in them found the 
natives had recently left the place ; they also observed 
that the mountain was covered with monkeys. They came 
back, and as the coast at that part presented nothing 
but a chain of mountains, I concluded that further west we 
should find the land flatter, and consequently in all proba- 
bility inhabited. Actuated by this thought I weighed anchor, 
and ran along the coast until we came to the end of the cor- 
dillera ; I then anchored at the mouth of a river, and we were 
soon visited by a great number of the inhabitants, who in- 
formed us, that the country was called Paria, and that further 
westward it was more fully peopled. I took four of these 

una boca muy angosta mas que aquella de la punta del Arenal, y 
allí había los mismos hileros y aquel rugir fuerte del agua como 
era en la punta del Arenal, y asimismo allí la mar era agua dulce ; 
y fasta entonces yo no habia habido lengua con ninguna gente de 
estas tierras, y lo deseaba en gran manera, y por esto navegué al 
luengo de la costa de esta tierra hacia el Poniente, y cuanto mas 
andaba hallaba el agua de la mar mas dulce y mas sabrosa, y 
andando una gran parte llegué á un lugar donde me parecían las 
tierras labradas y surgí y envió las barcas á tierra, y fallaron que 
de fresco se habia ido de allí gente, y fallaron todo el monte 
cubierto de gatos paules : volviéronse, y como esta fuese sierra 
me pareció que mas allá al Poniente las tierras eran mas llanas, y 
que allí seria poblado, y por esto seria poblado, y mandé levantar 
las anclas y corrí esta costa fasta el cabo de esta sierra, y allí á 
un rio surgi, y luego vino mucha gente, y me dijeron como 
llamaron á esta tierra Paria y que de allí mas al Poniente era mas 
poblada; tomé dellos cuatro, y después navegué al Ponieute, y 


natives, and proceeded on my westward voyage ; and when I 
had pfone eis'ht leag-ues further, I found on the other side 
of a point which I called Punta déla Aguja (Needle Point) ^ 
one of the most lovely countries in the world, and very 
thickly peopled : it was three o'clock in the morning when 
I reached it, and seeing its verdure and beauty, I resolved 
to anchor there and communicate with the inhabitants. Some 
of the natives soon came out to the ship, in canoes, to beg 
me, in the name of their king, to go on shore ; and when 
they saw that I paid no attention to them, they came to the 
ship in their canoes in countless numbers, many of them 
wearing pieces of gold on their breasts, and some with brace- 
lets of pearls on their arms ; on seeing which I was much 
delighted, and made many inquiries with the view of learn- 
ing where they found them. They informed me, that they 
were to be procured in their own neighbourhood, and also 
northward of that country. I would have remained here, 
but the provisions of corn, and wine, and meats, which I 
had brought out with so much care for the people whom I 
had left behind, were nearly wasted, so that all my anxiety 

andadas ocho leguas mas al Poniente allende una punta á que yo 
llamé del Aguja : hallé unas tierras las mas hermosas del mundo, 
y muy pobladas : llegué allí una mañana á hora de tercia, y por 
ver esta verdura y esta hermosura acordé surgir y ver esta gente, 
de los cuales luego vinieron en canoas á la nao á rogarme, de 
partes de su Rey, que descendiese en tierra ; é cuando vieron que 
no curé dellos vinieron á la nao infinitísimos en canoas, y muchos 
traían piezas de oro al pescuezo, y algunos atados á los brazos 
algunas perlas : holgué mucho cuando las vi é procaine mucho de 
saber donde las hallaban, y me dijeron que allí, y de la parte del 
Norte de aquella tierra. 

Quisiera detenerme, mas estos bastimentos, que yo traía, trigo 
y vino é carne para esta gente que acá esta se me acababan de 
perder, los cuales hobe allá con tanta fatiga, y por esto yo no 
buscaba sino á mas andar á venir á poner en ellos cobro, y no me 

^ It is now called .Point Alcatraz, or Point Pelican. 


was to get them into a place of safety^ and not to stop for 
any thing. I wished, however, to get some of the pearls 
that I had seen, and with that view sent the boats on shore. 
The natives are very numerous, and all handsome in person, 
and of the same colour as the Indians we had already seen ; 
they are, moreover, very affable, and received our men who 
went on shore most courteously, seeming very well disposed 
towards us. These men relate, that when the boats reached 
the shore, two of the chiefs, whom they took to be father and 
son, came forward in advance of the mass of the people, and 
conducted them to a very large house with facades, and not 
round and tent-shaped as the other houses were ; in this 
house were many seats, on which they made our men sit 
down, they themselves sitting with them. They then caused 
bread to be brought, with many kinds of fruits, and various 
sorts of wine, both white and red, not made of grapes, but 
apparently produced from different fruits. The most rea- 
sonable inference is, that they use maize, which is a plant 
that bears an ear like that of wheat, some of which I took 
with me to Spain, where it now grows abundantly ; the best 
of this they seemed to regard as most excellent, and set a 

detener para cosa alguna : procuré de haber de aquellas perlas, y 
envié las barcas á tierra : esta gente es muy mucha, y toda de 
muy buen parecer, de la misma color que los otros de antes, y muy 
tratables : la gente nuestra que fue á tierra los hallaron tan con- 
venibles, y los recibieron muy honradamente : dicen que luego 
que llegaron las barcas á tierra que vinieron dos personas princi- 
pales con todo el pueblo, creen que el uno el padre y el otro era 
su liijo, y los llevaron á una casa muy grande hecha á dos aguas, 
y no redonda, como tienda de campo, como son estas otras, y allí 
tenian muchas sillas á donde los ficieron asentar, y otras donde 
ellos se asentaron ; y hicieron traer pan, y de muchas maneras 
frutas é vino de muchas maneras blanco é tinto, mas no de uvas : 
debe él de ser de diversas maneras uno de una fi-uta y otro de 
otra ; y asimismo debe de ser dello de maiz, que es una simiente 
que hace una espiga como una mazorca de que llevé yo allá, y hay 


great value upon it. The men remained together at one 
end of the house^ and the women at the other. Great vexa- 
tion was felt by both parties that they could not understand 
each other, for they were mutually anxious to make inquiries 
respecting each other's country. After our men had been 
entertained at the house of the elder Indian, the younger 
took them to his house, and gave them an equally cordial 
reception; after which they returned to their boats and 
came on board. I weighed anchor forthwith, for I was 
hastened by my anxiety to save the provisions which were 
becoming spoiled, and which I had procured and preserved 
with so much care and trouble, as well as to attend to my 
own health, which had been affected by long watching ; 
and although on my former voyage, when I went out to 
discover terra firma, I passed thirty-three days without na- 
tural rest, and was all that time without seeing it, yet 
never were my eyes so much affected with bleeding or so 
painful as at this period. These people, as I have already 
said, are very graceful in form, — tall, and lithe in their 
movements, and wear their hair very long and smooth. They 

ya muclio en Castilla, y parece que aquel que lo tenia mejor lo 
traía por mayor excelencia, y lo daba en gran precio : los hombres 
todos estaban juntos á un cabo de la casa, y las mugeres en otro. 
Recibieron arabas las partes gran pena porque no se entendían, 
ellos para preguntar á los otros de nuestra patria, y los nuestros 
por saber de la suya. E después que hobíeron rescebído colación 
allí en casa del mas viejo, los llevó el mozo á la suya, e fizo otro 
tanto, é después se pusieron en las barcas é se vinieron á la nao, 
é yo luego levanté las anclas porque andaba mucho de priesa por 
remediar los mantenimientos que se me perdían que yo había 
habido con tanta fatiga, y también por remediarme á mí que 
había adolescído por el desvelar de los ojos, que bien quel viage 
que yo fui á descubrir la tierra firme estuviese teínta y tres dias 
sin concebir sueño, y estoviese tanto tiempo sin vista, non se me 
deñaron los ojos, ni se me rompieron de sangi-e y con tantos 
dolores como agora. 


also bind their heads with handsome worked handkerchiefs, 
which from a distance look like silk or gauze ; others use 
the same material in a longer form, wound round them so as 
to cover them like trousers, and this is done by both the 
men and the women. These people are of a whiter skin 
than any I have seen in the Indies. It is the fashion 
among all classes to wear something at the breast, and on 
the arms, and many wear pieces of gold hanging low on 
the bosom. Their canoes are larger, lighter, and of better 
build than those of the islands which I have hitherto seen, 
and in the middle of each they have a cabin or room, which 
I found was occupied by the chiefs and their wives. I 
called this place " Jardines," that is " the Gardens," for it 
corresponded to that appellation. I made many inquiries as 
to where they found the gold, in reply to which, all of them 
directed me to an elevated tract of land at no great distance, 
on the confines of their country, lying to the westward ; but 
they all advised me not to go there, for fear of being eaten, 
and at the time, I imagined that by their description they 
wished to imply, that they were cannibals who dwelt there. 

Esta gente, como ja, dije, son todos de muy linda estatura,' altos 
de cuerpos, é de muy lindos gestos, los cabellos muy largos é 
llanos, y traen las cabezas atadas con unos pañuelos labrados, 
como ya dije, hermosos, que parecen de lejos de seda y almaizares : 
otro traen ceñido mas largo que se cobijan con él en lugar de 
pañetes, ansi hombres como mugeres. La color de esta gente es 
mas blanca que otra que haya visto en las Indias ; todos traían al 
pescuezo y á los brazos algo á la guisa de estas tierras, y muchos 
traían piezas de oro bajo colgado al pescuezo. Las canoas de 
ellos son muy grandes y de mejor hechura que no son estas otras, 
y mas lis^ianas, y en el medio de cada una tienen un apartamiento 
como cámara en que vi que andaban los principales con sus 
mugeres. Llamé allí á este lugar Jardines, porque así conforman 
por el nombre. Procuré mucho de saber donde cogían aquel oro, 
y todos me aseñalaban una tierra frontera dellos al Poniente, que 


but I have since thought it possible, that they meant merely 
to express, that the country was filled with beasts of prey. 
I also inquired of them where they obtained the pearls, and 
in reply to this question likewise, they directed me to the 
westward, and also to the north, behind the country they oc- 
cupied. I did not put this information to the test, on account 
of the provisions, and the weakness of my eyes, and because 
the large ship that I had with me was not calculated for such 
an undertaking. The short time that I spent with them was 
all passed in putting questions; and at the hour of vespers 
[six P.M.], as I have already said, we returned to the ships, 
upon which I weighed anchor and sailed to the westward. I 
proceeded onwards on the following day, until I found that we 
were only in three fathoms water; at this time I was still under 
the idea that it was but an island, and that I should be able to 
make my exit by the north. With this view I sent a light 
caravel in advance of us, to see whether there was any exit, 
or whether the passage was closed. The caravel proceeded a 
great distance, until it reached a very large gulf, in which 

era muy alta, mas no lejos ; mas todos me decían que no fuese 
allá porque allí comían los hombres, y entendí entonces que decían 
que eran hombres caríbales, é que sei-ían como los otros, y después 
he pensado que podría ser que lo decían porque allí habría aní- 
malías. También les pregunté adonde cogían las perlas, y me 
señalaron también que al Poniente, y al Norte detrás de esta 
tierra donde estaban. Déjelo de probar por esto de los manteni- 
mientos, y del mal de mis ojos, y por una nao grande que traigo 
que no es para semejante hecho. 

Y como el tiempo fue breve se pasó todo en preguntas, y se 
volvieron á los navios, que sería hora de vísperas, como ya dije, y 
luego levanté las anclas y navegué al Poniente ; y asimesmo el día 
siguiente fasta que me fallé que no había si non tres brazas de 
fondo, con creencia que todavía esta seria isla, y que yo podría 
salir al Norte ; y así visto envié una carabela sotíl adelante á ver 
si había salida ó si estaba cerrado, y ansí anduvo mucho camino 
fasta un golfo muy grande en el cual parecía que había otros 



there appeared to be four smaller gulfs, from one of which de- 
bouched a large river. They invariably found ground at five 
fathoms, and a great quantity of very fresh water, indeed, I 
never tasted any equal to it. I was very disappointed when I 
found that I could make no exit, either by the north, south, or 
west, but that I was enclosed on all three sides by land. I 
therefore weighed anchor, and sailed in a backward direction, 
with the hope of finding a passage to the north by the strait, 
which I have already described ; but I could not return along 
the inhabited part where I had already been, on account of 
the currents, which drove me entirely out of my course. But 
constantly, at every headland, I found the water sweet and 
clear, and we were carried eastwards very powerfully towards 
the two straits already mentioned. I then conjectured, that 
the currents and the overwhelming mountains of water which 
rushed into these straits with such an awful roaring, arose 
from the contest between the fresh water and the sea. The 
fresh water struggled with the salt to oppose its entrance, and 
the salt contended against the fresh in its efíbrts to gain a pas- 
sage outwards. I also formed the conjecture, that at one 
time there was a continuous neck of land from the island of 

cuatro medianos, y del uno salia un rio grandísimo : fallaron 
siempre cinco brazas de fondo y el agua muy dulce, en tanta 
cantidad que yo jamas bebíla pareja della. Fui yo muy descon- 
tento della cuando vi que no podia salir al Norte ni podia andar 
ya al Austro ni al Poniente porque yo estaba cercado por todas 
partes de la tierra, y así levanté las anclas, y torne atrás para salir 
al Norte por la boca que yo arriba dije, y no pude volver por la 
población adonde yo habia estado, por causa de las corrientes que 
me habían desviado della, y siempre en todo cabo hallaba el agua 
dulce y clara, y que me llevaba al Oriente muy recio fácia las dos 
bocas que arriba dije, y entonces conjeturé que los hilos de la 
corriente, y aquellas lomas que salían y entraban en estas bocas 
con aquel rugir tan fuerte que era pelea del agua dulce con la 
salada. La dulce empujaba á la otra porque no entrase, y la 
salada porque la otra no saliese ; y conjeturé que allí donde son 


Trinidad to the land of Gracia, where the two straits 
now are, as your Highnesses will see, by the drawing which 
accompanies this letter. I passed out by this northern strait, 
and found the fresh water come even there ; and when, by the 
force of the wind, I was enabled to effect a passage, I re- 
marked, while on one of the watery billows which I have 
described, that the water on the inner side of the current 
was fresh, and on the outside salt. 

When I sailed from Spain to the Indies, I found, that as 
soon as I had passed a hundred leagues westward of the 
Azores, there was a very great change in the sky and the 
stars, in the temperature of the air, and in the water of the 
sea ; and I have been very diligent in observing these things. 
I remarked, that from north to south, in traversing these 
hundred leagues from the said islands, the needle of the 
compass, which hitherto had turned towards the north-east, 
turned a full quarter of the wind to the north-west, and this 
took place from the time when we reached that line. At the 
same time an appearance was presented, as if the sea shore 
had been transplanted thither, for we found the sea covered 

estas dos bocas que algún tiempo seria tierra continua á la Isla de 
la Trinidad con la tierra de Gracia, como podrán ver vuestras 
Altezas por la pintura de lo que con esta les envío- Salí yo por 
esta boca del Norte y hallé quel agua dulce siempre vencía, y 
cuando pasé, que fue con fuerza de viento, estando en una de 
aquellas lomas, hallé en aquellos hilos de la parte de dentro el 
agua dulce, y de fuera salada. 

Cuando yo navegué de España á las Indias fallo luego en 
pasando cien leguas á Poniente de los Azores grandísimo muda- 
miento en el cielo é en las estrellas, y en la temperancia del aire, 
y en las aguas de la mar, y en esto he tenido mucha diligencia en 
la experiencia. 

Fallo que de Septentrión en Austro, pasando las dichas cien le- 
guas de las dichas islas, que luego en las agujas de marear, que 
fasta entonces nordesteaban, noruestean una cuarta de viento todo 
entero, y esto es en allegando allí á aquella línea, como quien 



all over with a sort of weed^ resembling pine branches, and 
with fruits like that of the mastic tree, so thick, that on my 
first voyage I thought it was a reef, and that the ships could 
not avoid running aground ; whereas until I reached this line, 
I did not meet with a single bough. I also observed, that at 
this point the sea was very smooth, and that though the wind 
was rough, the ships never rolled. I likewise found, that 
within the same line, towards the west, the temperature was 
always mild, and that it did not vary summer or winter. 
While there, I observed that the north star described a 
circle five degrees in diameter ; that when its satellites^ are 
on the right side, then the star was at its lowest point, and 
from this point it continues rising until it reaches the left 
side, where it is also at five degrees, and then again it sinks 
until it at length returns to the right side. In this voyage I 
proceeded immediately from Spain to the island of Madeira, 
thence to the Canaries, and then to the Cape Verde islands, 
and from the Cape Verde islands I sailed southwards, even 

traspone una cuesta, asimesmo fallo la mar toda llena de yerba de 
una calidad que parece ramitos de pino j muy cargada de fruta 
como de lantisco, y es tan espesa que al primer viage pensé que 
era bajo, y que daría en seco con los navios, y hasta llegar con esta 
raya no se falla un solo ramito : fallo también en llegando allí la 
mar muy suave y llana, y bien que vente recio nunca se levanta. 
Asimismo hallo dentro de la dicha raya hacía Poniente la tem- 
perancia del cielo muy suave, y no discrepa de la cantidad quíer 
sea invierno, quíer sea en verano. Cuando allí estoy hallo que la 
estrella del ííorte escribe un círculo el cualo tiene en el diámetro 
cinco grados, y estando las guardas en el brazo derecho estonces 
está la estrella en el mas bajo, y se vá alzando fasta que llega al 
brazo izquierdo, y estonces está cinco grados, y de allí se vá 
abajando fasta llegar á volver otra vez al brazo derecho. 

Yo allegué agora de España á la Isla de la Madera, y de allí á 
Canana, y dende á las Islas de Cabo Verde, de adonde cometí el 
víage para navegar al Austro fasta debajo la línea equínocíal, como 

' The stars composing the constellation of Ursa Minor. 


below the equinoctial line, as I have already described. 
When I reached the parallel of Sierra Leone, in Guinea, I 
found the heat so intense, and the rays of the sun so fierce, 
that I thought that we should have been burnt; and although 
it rained and the sky was heavy with clouds, I still suffered 
the same oppression, until our Lord was pleased to grant me 
a favourable wind, giving me an opportunity of sailing to the 
west, so that I reached a latitude where I experienced, as I 
have already said, a change in the temperature. Immediately 
upon my reaching this line, the temperature became very 
mild, and the more I advanced, the more this mildness in- 
creased ; but I did not find the positions of the stai's corre- 
spond with these efíects. I remarked at this place, that when 
night came on, the polar star was five degrees high, and then 
the satellites were over head ; afterwards, at midnight, I 
found that star elevated ten degrees, and when morning ap- 
proached, the satellites were fifteen degrees below. I found 
the smoothness of the sea continue, but not so the weeds ; as 
to the polar star, I watched it with great wonder, and devoted 

ya dije : allegado á estar en derecho con el paralelo que pasa por 
la Sierra Leoa en Guinea, fallo tan grande ardor, y los rayos del 
sol tan calientes que pensaba de quemar, y bien que lloviese y el 
cielo fuese muy turbado siempre yo estaba en esta fatiga, fasta 
que nuestro Señor proveyó de buen viento y á mi puso en voluntad 
que yo navegase al Occidente con este esfuerzo, que en llegando á 
la raya de que yo dijeque allífallaria mudamiento en la temperancia. 
Después que yo emparejé á estar en derecho de esta raj'a luego 
fallé la temperancia del cielo muy suave, y cuanto mas andaba 
adelante mas multiplicaba ; mas no hallé conforme á esto las 

Fallé allí que en anocheciendo tenia yo la estrella del Norte alta 
cinco gibados, y estonces las guardas estaban encima de la cabeza, 
y después á la media noche fallaba la estrella alta diez grados, y 
en amaneciendo que las guardas estaban en los pies quince. 

La suavelidad de la mar fallé conforme, mas no en la yerba : en 
esto de la estrella del Norte tomé grande admiración, y por esto 


many nights to a careful examination of it witli tlie quadrant, 
and I always found that the lead and line fell to the same 
point. I look upon this as something new, and it will pro- 
bably be admitted, that it is a short distance for so great a 
change to take place in the temperature. I have always read, 
that the world comprising the land and the water was spheri- 
cal, and the recorded experiences of Ptolemy and all others, 
have proved this by the eclipses of the moon, and other obser- 
vations made from east to west, as well as by the elevation of 
the pole from north to south. But as I have already described, 
I have now seen so much irregularity, that I have come to 
another conclusion respecting the earth, namely, that it is not 
round as they describe, but of the form of a pear, which is 
very round except where the stalk grows, at which part it is 
most prominent ; or like a round ball, upon one part of which 
is a prominence like a woman's nipple, this protrusion being 
the highest and nearest the sky, situated under the equinoctial 
line, and at the eastern extremity of this sea, — I call that the 

muchas noches con mucha diligencia tornaba yo á repricar la vista 
della con el cuadrante, y siempre ñillé que caía el plomo y hilo á 
un punto. 

Por cosa nueva tengo yo esto, y podrá ser que será tenida que 
en poco espacio haga tanta diferencia el cielo. 

Yo siempre lei que el mundo, tierra é agua era esférico é las 
autoridades y esperiencias que Tolomeo y todos los otros escri- 
bieron de este sitio, daban é amostraban para ello así por eclipses 
de la luna y otras demostraciones que hacen de Oxñente fasta 
Occidente, como de la elevación del polo de Septentrión en Austro. 
Agora vi tanta disformidad, como ya dije, y por esto me puse á 
tener esto del mundo, y fallé que no era redondo en la forma que 
escriben ; salvo que es de la forma de una pera que sea toda muy 
redonda, salvo allí donde tiene el pezón que allí tiene mas alto, ó 
como quien tiene una pelota muy redonda, y en un lugar della 
fuese como una teta de muger allí puesta, y que esta parte deste 
pezón sea la mas alta é mas propincua al cielo, y sea debajo la línea 
cquinocial, y en esta mar Océana en fíu del Oriente : llamo yo fin 


eastern extremity, where tlie land and the islands end. In 
confirmation of my opinion, I revert to tlie arguments whicli 
I have above detailed respecting the line, which passes from 
north to south, a hundred leagues westward of the Azores ; 
for in sailing thence westward, the ships went on rising 
smoothly towards the sky, and then the weather was felt to 
be milder, on account of which mildness, the needle shifted 
one point of the compass ; the further we went, the more the 
needle moved to the north-west, this elevation producing the 
variation of the circle, which the north star describes with its 
satellites ; and the nearer I approached the equinoctial line, 
the more they rose, and the greater was the difference 
in these stars and in their circles. Ptolemy and the other 
philosophers, who have written upon the globe, thought that 
it was spherical, believing that this hemisphere was round as 
well as that in which they themselves dwelt, the centre of 
which was in the island of Arin,^ which is under the equinoc- 

de Oriente, adonde acaba toda la tierra é islas, é para esto allego 
todas las razones sobre-escriptas de la raya que pasa al Occidente 
délas islas de los Azores cien leguas de Septentrión en Austro, 
que en pasando de allí al Poniente ya van los navios alzándose 
hacia el cielo suavemente, y entonces se goza de mas suave tem- 
perancia y se muda el aguja del marear por causa de la suavidad 
desa cuarta de viento, y cuanto mas va adelante é alzándose mas 
noruestea, y esta altura causa el desvariar del circulo que escribe 
la estrella del Norte con las guardas, y cuanto mas pasare junto 
con la línea equinocial, mas se subirán en alto, y mas diferencia 
habrá en las dichas estrellas, y en los circuios dellas. Y Tolomeo 
y los otros sabios que escribieron de este mundo, creyeron que era 
esférico, creyendo queste hemisferio que fuese redondo como aquel 
de allá donde ellos estaban, el cual tiene el centro en la Isla de 

I A misspelling, not infrequent in those days, for the sacred city 
(not island) of Odjein or Ougein in Malwa, whence the Indians reck- 
oned their first meridian. The change of the name to Arin in Arabic 
is thus explained by jNI. Reiuaud in his Mémoire sur Vlnde^ p. 373. 
The dj of the Indians was sometimes rendered z by the Arabs, and thus 


tial line between the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Persia ; 
and the circle passes over Cape St. Vincent, in Portugal, 
westward, and eastward, by Cangara and the Seras,^ in which 
hemisphere I make no difficulty as to its being a perfect 
sphere as they describe ; but this western half of the world, 
I maintain, is like the half of a very round pear, having a 
raised projection for the stalk, as I have already described, or 
like a woman's nipple on a round ball. Ptolemy and the 
others who have written upon the globe, had no information 
respecting this part of the world, which was then unexplored; 
they only established their arguments with respect to their 
own hemisphere, which, as I have already said, is half of a 
perfect sphere. And now that your Highnesses have com- 
missioned me to make this voyage of discovery, the truths 
which I have stated are evidently proved, because in this 
voyage, when I was off the island of Hargin,^ and its vicinity, 
which is twenty degrees to the north of the equinoctial line. 

Arin, qués debajo la linea equinocial entre el sino Arábico y aquel 
de Persia, y el círculo pasa sobre el Cabo de S. Vicente en Portu- 
gal por el Poniente, y pasa en Oriente por Cangara y por las 
Seras, en el cual hemisferio no hago yo que hay ninguna dificultad, 
salvo que sea esférico redondo como ellos dicen : mas este otro 
digo que es como sería la mitad de la pera bien redonda, la cual 
tuviese el pezón alto como y dije, ó como una teta de muger en 
una pelota redonda, así que desta media parte non hobo noticia 
Tolomeo ni los otros que escribieron del mundo por ser muy 
ignoto ; solamente hicieron raiz sobre el hemisferio, adonde ellos 
estaban ques redondo esférico, como arriba dije. Y agora que 
vuestras Altezas lo han mandado navegar y buscar y descobrir, se 
amuestra evidentísimo, porque estando yo en este viage al Septen- 
trión veinte grados de la línea equinocial, allí era en derecho de 

the Arab translators wrote the word Ozein ; but as in manuscripts the 
vowels were often omitted, the mass of readers to whom the name of 
Odjein was indifferent, would pronounce it Aziu, and as the copyist 
would sometimes forget to insert the point which distinguisned a z from 
an r, Azin would be read Arin. 

' Japan and China. - Arguin, off the west coast of Africa. 


I found the people are black, and the land very much burnt ; 
and when after that I went to the Cape Verde islands, I 
found the people there much darker still, and the more 
southward we went, the more they approach the extreme of 
blackness ; so that when I reached the parallel of Sierra 
Leone, where, as night came on, the north star rose five 
degrees, the people there were excessively black ; and as I 
sailed westward, the heat became extreme. But after I had 
passed the meridian, or line which I have already described, 
I found the climate become gradually more temperate ; so 
that when I reached the island of Trinidad, where the north 
star rose five degrees as night came on, there, and in the 
land of Gracia, I found the temperature exceedingly mild ; 
the fields and the foliage likewise were remarkably fresh and 
green, and as beautiful as the gardens of Valencia in April. 
The people there are very graceful in form, less dark than 
those whom I had before seen in the Indies, and wear their 
hair long and smooth ; they are also more shrewd, intelligent, 
and courageous. The sun was then in the sign of Virgo, 

Hargin, é de aquellas tierras : é allí es la gente negra é la tierra 
muy quemada, y después que fui á las Islas de Cabo Verde, allí en 
aquellas tierras es la gente mucho mas negra, y cuanto mas bajo 
se van al Austro tanto mas llegan al extremo, en manera que allí 
en derecho donde yo estaba, qués la Sierra Leoa, adonde se me 
alzaba la estrella del Norte en anocheciendo cinco grados, allí es 
la gente negra en extrema cantidad, y después que de allí navegué 
al Occidente tan extremos calores ; y pasada la raya de que yo 
dije fallé multiplicar la temperancia, andando en tanta cantidad 
que cuando yo llegué á la isla de la Trinidad, adonde la estrella 
del Norte en anocheciendo también se me alzaba cinco grados, allí 
y en la tierra de Gracia hallé temperancia suavísima, y las tierras 
y árboles muy verdes, y tan hermosos como en Abril en las huertas 
de Valencia ; y la gente de allí de muy linda estatura, y blancos 
mas que otros que baya visto en las Indias, é los cabellos muy lar 
gos é llanos, é gente mas astuta é de mayor ingenio, é no cobardes. 
Entonces era el sol en Virgen encima de nuestras cabezas é suyas, 


over our heads and theirs ; therefore^ all this must proceed 
from the extreme blandness of the temperature, which arises, 
as I have said, from this country being the most elevated in 
the world, and the nearest to the sky. On these grounds, 
therefore, I affirm, that the globe is not spherical, but that 
there is the difference in its form which I have described ; 
the which is to be found in this hemisphere, at the point 
where the Indies meet the ocean, the extremity of the 
hemisphere being below the equinoctial line. And a great 
confirmation of this is, that when our Lord made the sun, 
the first light appeared in the first point of the east, where 
the most elevated point of the globe is ; and although it was 
the opinion of Aristotle, that the antarctic pole, or the land 
under it, was the highest part of the world, and the nearest 
to the heavens, other philosophers oppose him, and say, that 
the highest part was below the arctic pole, by which reason- 
ing it appears, that they understood, that one part of the 
world must be loftier, and nearer the sky, than the other ; 
but it never struck them that it might be under the equi- 
noctial, in the way that I have said, which is not to be won- 

ansi que todo esto procede por la suavísima temperancia que allí 
es, la cual procede por estar mas alto en el mundo mas cerca del 
aire que cuento ; y así me afirmo quel mundo no es esférico, salvo 
que tiene esta diferencia que ya dije : la cual es en este hemisferio 
adonde caen las Indias é la mar Oceana, y el extremo dello es de- 
bajo la línea equinocial, y ayuda mucho á esto que sea ansí, porque 
el sol cuando nuestro Señor lo hizo fue en el primer punto de 
Oriente, ó la primera luz fue aquí en Oriente, allí donde es el ex- 
tremo de la altura deste mundo ; y bien quel parecer de Aristotel 
fuese que el Polo antartico ó la tierra ques debajo del sea la mas 
alta parte en el mundo, y mas propincua al cielo, otros sabios le 
impugnan diciendo que es esta ques debajo del ártico, pov las 
cuales razones parece que entendian que una parte deste mundo 
debia de ser mas propincua y noble al cielo que otra, y no cayeron 
en esto que sea debajo del equinocial por la forma que yo dije, y 
no es maravilla porque deste hemisferio non se hobiese noticia 


dered at, because they had no certain knowledge respecting 
this hemisphere, but merely vague suppositions, for no one 
has ever gone or been sent to investigate the matter, until 
now that your Highnesses have sent me to explore both the 
sea and the land. I found that between the two straits, 
which, as I have said, face each other in a line from north to 
south, is a distance of twenty-six leagues ; and there can be 
no mistake in this calculation, because it was made with the 
quadrant. I also find, that from these two straits on the 
west up to the above-mentioned gulf, to which I gave the 
name of the Gulf of Pearls,^ there are sixty-eight leagues of 
four miles to the league, which is the reckoning we are 
accustomed to make at sea ; from this gulf the water runs 
constantly with great impetuosity towards the east, and this 
is the cause why, in these two straits, there is so fierce a tur- 
moil from the fresh water encountering the water of the sea. 
In the southern strait, which 1 named the Serpent's Mouth, 
I found that towards evening the polar star was nearly at 
five degrees elevation -, and in the northern, which I called 
the Dragon's Mouth, it was at an elevation of nearly seven 
degrees. The before-mentioned Gulf of Pearls is to the west 

cierta, salvo muy liviana y por argumento, porque nadie nunca lo 
ha andado ni enviado á buscar, hasta agora que vuestras Altezas 
le mandaron explorar é descubrir la mar y la tierra. 

Fallo que de allí de estas dos bocas, las cuales como yo dije es- 
tan frontero por línea de Septentrión en Austro, que haya de la 
una á la otra veinte y seis leguas, y no pudo haber en ello yerro 
porque se midieron con cuadrante, y destas dos bocas de accidente 
fasta el golfo que yo dije, al cual llamé de las Perlas, que son 
sesenta é ocho leguas de cuatro millas dada una como acostum- 
bramos en la mar, y que de allá de este golfo corre de contino el 
agua muy fuerte hacia el oriente ; y que por esto tienen aquel 
combate estas dos bocas con la salada. En esta boca de Austro 
á que yo llamé de la Sierpe, fallé en anocheciendo que yo tenia la 
estrella del Norte alta cuasi cinco grados, y en aquella del otra Sep- 

' The innermost uulf within the Gulf of Paria. 


of tlie^ of Ptolemy^ nearly tliree tliousand nine 

hundred miles, whicli make nearly seventy equinoctial de- 
grees, reckoning fifty-six miles and two-tliirds to a degree. 
The Holy Scriptures record, that our Lord made the earthly 
paradise, and planted in it the tree of life, and thence springs 
a fountain from which the four principal rivers in the world 
take their source ; namely, the Gauges in India, the Tigris, 
and Euphrates in" which rivers divide a chain of 

mountains, and forming Mesopotamia, flow thence into Per- 
sia, — and the Nile, which rises in Ethiopia, and falls into the 
sea at Alexandria. 

I do not find, nor have ever found, any account by the 
Romans or Greeks, which fixes in a positive manner the 
site of the terrestrial paradise, neither have I seen it given 
in any mappe-monde, laid down from authentic sources. 
Some placed it in Ethiopia, at the sources of the Nile, but 

tentrion,á que yo llamé del Drago, eran cuasi siete,y fallo quel dicho 
Golfo de las Perlas está occidentalal Occidente de el de 

Toloraeo cuasi tres mil é novecientas millas, que son cuasi setenta 
grados equinociales, contando por cada uno cincuenta y seis millas 
é dos tercios. 

La Sacra Escriptura testifica que nuestro Señor hizo al Paraíso 
terrenal, y en él puso el Árbol de la vida, y del sale una fuente de 
donde resultan en este mundo cuatro ríos priucipales : Ganges en 
India, Tigris y Eufrates en los cuales apartan la sierra y 

hacen la Mesopotamia y van á tener en Persia, y el Nilo que nace 
en Etiopia y va en la mar en Alejandría. 

Yo no hallo ni jamas he hallado escriptura de Latinos ni de 
Griegos que certificadamente diga el sitio en este mundo del 
Paraíso terrenal, ni visto en ningún mapamundo, salvo, situado 
con autoridad de argumento. Algunos le ponían allí donde son 
las fuentes del Nílo en Etiopía ; mas otros anduvieron todas estas 

1 A similar gap in the original. In all probability " first meridian" 
or some such words, are omitted. 

^ A similar gap in the original, which would seem to want the words 
" Asiatic Turkey." 


others, traversing all these counti-ies, found neither the tem- 
perature nor the altitude of the sun correspond with their 
ideas respecting it ; nor did it appear that the overwhelm- 
ing waters of the deluge had been there. Some pagans 
pretended to adduce arguments to establish that it was in 
the Fortunate Islands, now called the Canaries, etc. 

St. Isidore, Bede, Strabo,^ and the Master of scholastic 
history,- with St. Ambrose, and Scotus, and all the learned 
theologians, agree that the earthly paradise is in the east, etc. 

I have already described my ideas concerning this hemi- 
sphere and its form, and I have no doubt, that if I could 
pass below the equinoctial line, after reaching the highest 
point of which I have spoken, I should find a much milder 
temperature, and a variation in the stars and in the water ; 
not that I suppose that elevated point to be navigable, nor 
even that there is water there ; indeed, I beheve it is im- 
possible to ascend thither, because I am convinced that it is 
the spot of the earthly paradise, whither no one can go but 
by God's permission ; but this land which your Highnesses 

tierras y no hallaron conformidad dello en la temperancia del 
cielo, en la altura hacia el cielo, porque se pudiese comprehender 
que el era allí, ni que las agaias del diluvio hobiesen llegado allí, 
las cuales subieron encima, &c. Algunos gentiles quisieron decir 
por argumentos, que el era en las islas Fortunatas que son las 
Canarias, &c. 

S. Isidro y Beda y Strabo, y el Maestro de la historia escolás- 
tica, y San Ambrosio, y Scoto, y todos los sanos teólogos conciertan 
quel Paraíso terrenal es en el Oriente, &c. 

Ya dije lo que yo hallaba deste hemisferio y de la hechura, y 
creo que si yo pasara por debajo de la línea equinocial que en 
llegando allí en esto mas alto que fallara muy mayor temperancia, 
y diversidad en las estrellas y en las aguas ; no porque yo crea que 
allí donde es el altura del exti'erao sea navegable ni agua, ni que 
se pueda subir allá, porque creo que allí es el Paraíso terrenal 
adonde no puede llegar nadie, salvo por voluntad Divina ; y creo 

^ Walafrícd Stralnis, Ab])6 of Reichenau in Baden. 

- Petras Comestor, who wrote the " Histórica Scholastica." 


have now sent me to explore, is very extensive, and I tHink 
there are many other countries in the south, of which the 
world has never had any knowledge. 

I do not suppose that the earthly paradise is in the form 
of a rugged mountain, as the descriptions of it have made it 
appear, but that it is on the summit of the spot, which I 
have described as being in the form of the stalk of a pear ; 
the approach to it from a distance must be by a constant and 
gradual ascent ; but I believe that, as I have already said, 
no one could ever reach the top -, I think also, that the water 
I have described may proceed from it, though it be far off, 
and that stopping at the place which I have just left, it forms 
this lake. There are great indications of this being the ter- 
restrial paradise, for its site coincides with the opinion of 
the holy and wise theologians whom I have mentioned ; and 
moreover, the other evidences agree with the supposition, for 
I have never either read or heard of fresh water coming in 
so large a quantity, in close conjunction with the water of 
the sea ; the idea is also corroborated by the blandness of 
the temperature ; and if the water of which I speak, does 
not proceed from the earthly paradise, it seems to be a still 

que esta tierra que agora mandaron descubrir vuestras Altezas 
sea grandísima y haya otras muchas en el Austro de que jamas se 
bobo noticia. 

Yo no tomo quel Paraise terrenal sea en forma de montaña as- 
pera como el escrebir dello nos amuestra, salvo quel sea en el 
colmo allí donde dije la figura del pezón de la pera, y que poco á 
poco andando hacía allí desde muy lejos se va subiendo á él ; y 
creo que nadie no podría llegar al colmo como yo dije, y creo que 
pueda salir de allí esa agua, bien que sea lejos y venga á parar 
allí donde yo vengo, y faga este lago. Grandes indicios son estos 
del Paraíso terrenal, porquel sitio es conforme á la opinion de 
estos santos é sanos teólogos, y asimismo las señales son muy 
conformes, que yo jamas leí ni oí que tanta cantidad de agua dulce 
fuese así adentro é vecina con la salada ; y en ello ayuda asimismo 
la suavísima tcmpci'ancia,y si de allí del Paraíso no sale, parece aun 


greater wonder^ for I do not believe that there is any river 
in the world so large or so deep. 

When I left the Dragonas Mouth, which is the northern- 
most of the two straits which I have described, and which I 
so named on the day of our Lady of August/ I found that 
the sea ran so strongly to the westward, that between the 
hour of mass/ when I weighed anchor, and the hour of com- 
plines,^ I made sixty-five leagues of four miles each ; and not 
only was the wind not violent, but on the contrary very 
gentle, which confirmed me in the conclusion, that in sailing 
southward, there is a continuous ascent, while there is a cor- 
responding descent towards the north. 

I hold it for certain, that the waters of the sea move from 
east to west with the sky, and that in passing this track, they 
hold a more rapid course, and have thus eaten away large 
tracts of land, and hence has resulted this great number of 
islands; indeed, these islands themselves afford an additional 
proof of it, for on the one hand all those which lie west and 

mayor maravilla, porque no creo que se sepa en el mundo de rio 
tan grande y tan fondo. 

Después que yo salí de la boca del Dragon, ques la una de las 
dos aquella del Septentrión, á la cual así puse nombre, el día 
siguiente, que fue dia de Nuestra Señora de Agosto, fallé que 
corría tanto la mar al Poniente, que después de hoi'a de misa que 
entré en camino, anduve fasta hora de completas sesenta y cinco 
leguas de cuatro millas cada una, y el viento no era demasiado, salvo 
muy suave ; y esto ayuda el cognoscimiento que de allí yendo al 
Austro se va mas alto, y andando hacia el Septentrión, como en- 
tonces, se va descendiendo. 

Muy conoscido tengo que las aguas de la mar llevan su curso 
de Oriente á Occidente con los cielos, y que allí en esta comarca 
cuando pasan llevan mas veloce camino, y por esto han comido 
tanta parte de la tierra, porque por eso son acá tantas islas, y 
ellas mismas hacen desto testimonio, porque todas á una mano 

• The feast of the Assuuiption. 

2 Probably six a.m. ^ Nine p.m. 


east^ or a little more obliquely iiortli-west and soutli-east^ are 
broad ; while those which, lie north and south^ or north-east 
and south-west, that is, in a directly contrary direction to 
the said winds, are narrow ; furthermore, that these islands 
should possess the most costly pi-oductions, is to be accounted 
for by the mild temperature, which comes to them from 
heaven, since these are the most elevated parts of the world. 
It is true, that in some parts, the waters do not appear to 
take this course, but this only occurs in certain spots, where 
they are obsti-ucted by land, and hence they appear to take 
different directions. 

Pliny writes that the sea and land together form a sphere, 
but that the ocean forms the greatest mass, and lies upper- 
most, while the earth is below and supports the ocean, and 
that the two afford a mutual support to each other, as the 
kernel of a nut is confined by its shell. The Master of 
scholastic history, in commeutiug upon Genesis, says, that 
the waters are not very extensive ; and that although when 
they were first created they covered the earth, they were yet 

son largas de Poniente á Levante, y Norueste é Sueste ques un 
poco mas alto é bajo, y angostas de Norte á Sur, y Nordeste 
Sudueste, que son en contrario de los otros dichos vientos, y aquí 
en ellas todas nascen cosas preciosas por la suave temperan cía 
que les procede del cielo por estar hacia el mas alto del mundo. 
Verdad es que parece en algunos lugares que las aguas no hagan 
este curso ; mas esto no es, salvo particularmente en algunos 
lugares donde alguna tierra le está al encuentro, y hace parecer 
que andan diversos caminos. 

Plinio escribe que la mar é la tierra hace todo una esfera, y 
pone questa mar Oceana sea la mayor cantidad del agua, y está 
hacia el cielo, y que la tierra sea debajo y que le sostenga, y 
mezclado es uno con otro como el amago de la nuez con una tela 
gorda que va abrazado en ello. El Maestro de la Historia esco- 
lástica sobre el Genesis dice que las aguas son muy pocas, que 
bien que cuando fueron criadas que cobijasen toda la tierra que 
entonces eran vaporables en manera de niebla, j que después que 


vaporous like a cloud, and that afterwards they became con- 
densedj and occupied but small space, and in this notion 
Nicolas de Lira agrees. Aristotle says that the world is 
small, and the water very limited in extent, and that it is 
easy to pass from Spain to the Indies ; and this is confirmed 
by Avenruyz,^ and by the Cardinal Pedro de Aliaco, who, in 
supporting this opinion, shows that it agrees with that of 
Seneca, and says that Aristotle had been enabled to gain 
information respecting the world by means of Alexander the 
Great, and Seneca by means of the Emperor Nero, and Pliny 
through the Eomans ; all of them having expended large 
sums of money, and employed a vast number of people, in 
diligent inquiry concerning the secrets of the world, and in 
spreading abroad the knowledge thus obtained. The said 
cardinal allows to these writers greater authority than to 
Ptolemy, and other Greeks and Arabs ; and in confirmation 
of their ojjinion concerning the small quantity of water on 
the surface of the globe, and the limited amount of land 
covered by that water, in comparison of what had been re- 

faeron sólidas é juntadas que ocuparon muy poco lugar, y en 
esto concierta Nicolao de Lira. El Aristotel dice que este mundo 
es pequeño y es el agua muy poca, y que fácilmente se puede 
pasar de España á las Indias, y esto confirma el Avenruyz y le 
alega el Cardenal Pedro de Aliaco, autorizando este decir y aquel 
de Séneca, el cual conforma con estos diciendo que Aristóteles 
pudo saber muchos secretos del mundo á causa de Alejandro 
Magno, y Séneca á causa de Cesar Ñero y Plinio por respecto de 
los Romanos, los cuales todos gastaron dineros é gente, y pusieron 
mucha diligencia en saber los secretos del mundo y darlos á en- 
tender á los pueblos ; el cual Cardenal da á estos grande auto- 
ridad mas que á Tolomeo ni á otros Griegos ni Árabes, y á con- 
firmación de decir quel agua sea poca y quel cubierto del mundo 
della sea poco, al respecto de lo que se decia por autoridad de 
Tolomeo y de sus secuaces : á esto trae una autoridad de Esdras 

' Averrh(5es, an Arabian philosopher of the twelfth century. 



lated on the authority of Ptolemy and his disciples, he finds 
a passage in the third book of Esdras, where that sacred 
writer says, that of seven parts of the world six are dis- 
covered, and the other is covered with water. The authority 
of the third and fourth books of Esdi-as is also confirmed by 
holy persons, such as St. Augustin, and St. Ambrose in his 
Mxameron, where he says, — " Here my son Jesus shall first 
come, and here my son Christ shall die V These holy men 
say that Esdras was a prophet as well as Zacharias, the 
father of St. John, and Bl Braso^ Simon ; authorities which 
are also quoted by Francis de Mairones.^ With respect to 
the dryness of the land, experience has shown that it is 
greater than is commonly believed ; and this is no wonder, 
for the further one goes the more one learns. 

I now return to my subject of the land of Gracia, and of 
the river and lake found there, which latter might more pro- 
perly be called a sea ; for a lake is but a small expanse of 
water, which, when it becomes great, deserves the name of a 
sea, just as we speak of the Sea of Galilee and the Dead 

del 3°. libro suyo, adonde dice que de siete partes del mundo las 
seis son descubiertas y la una es cubierta de agua, la cual autori- 
dad es aprobada por Santos, los cuales dan autoridad al 3°. é 4°. 
libro de Esdras, ansí como es S. Agustín é S. Ambrosio en su 
exameron, adonde alega allí vendrá mí hijo Jesús é morirá mí hijo 
Cristo, y dicen que Esdrás fue Profeta, y asimismo Zacarías, padre 
de S. Juan, y el braso Simon ; las cuales autoridades también alega 
Prancisco de Mairones : en cuanto en esto del enjuto de la tierra 
mucho se ha experimentado ques mucho mas de lo quel vulgo 
crea ; y no es maravilla, porque andando mas mas se sabe. 

Torno á mi propósito de la tierra de Gracia y río y lago que 
allí fallé, atan grande que mas se le puede llamar mar que lago, 
porque lago es lugar de agua, y en seyendo grande se dice mar, 
como se dijo á la mar de Galilea y al mar Muerto, y digo que sino 

' This expression is described by the ancient copyist of the letter as 
being "badly written"; probably miscopied for "El beato", "The 

- A Scotist of the fourteenth century, surnamed " Doctor illuminatus 
et acutus." 


Sea ; and I think that if the river mentioned does not pro- 
ceed from the terrestrial paradise^ it comes from an im- 
mense tract of land situated in the south, of which no know- 
ledge has been hitherto obtained. But the more I reason 
on the subject, the more satisfied I become that the terres- 
trial paradise is situated in the spot I have described ; and 
I ground my opinion upon the arguments and authorities 
already quoted. May it please the Lord to grant your High- 
nesses a long lifoj and health and peace to follow out so noble 
an investigation ; in which I think our Lord will receive 
great service, Spain considerable increase of its greatness, 
and all Christians much consolation and pleasure, because by 
this means the name of our Lord will be published abroad. 

In all the countries visited by your Highnesses' ships, I 
have caused a high cross to be fixed upon every headland, 
and have proclaimed, to every nation that I have discovered, 
the lofty estate of your Highnesses, and of your court in 
Spain. I also tell them all I can respecting our holy faith 
and of the belief in the holy mother Church, which has its 
members in all the world ; and I speak to them also of the 

procede del Paraíso terrenal que viene este rio y procede de tierra 
infinita, pues al Austro, de la cual fasta agora no se ha habido 
noticia, mas yo muy asentado tengo en el anima que allí adonde 
dije es el Paraíso terrenal, y descanso sobre las razones y autori- 
dades sobre-escríptas. 

Plega á nuestro Señor de dar mucha vida y salud y descanso á 
vuestras Altezas para que puedan proseguir esta tan noble em- 
presa, en la cual me parece que rescibe nuestro Señor mucho ser- 
vicio, y la España crece de mucha grandeza, y todos los Cristianos 
mucha consolación y placer, porque aquí se divulgará el nombre 
de nuestro Señor ; y en todas las tierras adonde los navios de 
vuestras Altezas van, y en todo cabo mando plantar una alta cruz, 
y á toda la gente que hallo notifico el estado de vuestras Altezas 
y como su asiento es en España, y les digo de nuestra santa fe 
todo lo que yo puedo, y de la creencia de la Santa Madre Iglesia, 
la cual tiene sus miembros en todo el mundo, y les digo la policía 



courtesy and nobleness of all Christians^ and of the faitli 
they have in the Holy Trinity, May it please the Lord to 
forgive those who have calumniated and still calumniate this 
excellent enterprise, and oppose and have opposed its ad- 
vancement, without considering how much glory and great- 
ness will accrue from it to your Highnesses throughout all 
the world. They cannot state anything in disparagement 
of it, except its expense, and that I have not immediately 
sent back the ships loaded with gold. They speak this 
without considering the shortness of the time, and how 
many diflBculties there are to contend with ; and that every 
year there are individuals who singly earn by their deserts 
out of your Majesties' own household, more revenue than 
would cover the whole of this expense. Nor do they take 
into consideration that the princes of Spain have never gained 
possession of any land out of their own country, until now that 
your Highnesses have become the masters of another world, 
where our holy faith may become so much increased, and 
whence such stores of wealth may be derived ; for although 
we have not sent home ships laden with gold, we have. 

y nobleza de todos los Cristianos, y la fe que en la Santa Trinidad 
tienen ; y plega á nuestro Señor de tirar de memoria á las personas 
que han impugnado y impugnan tan excelente empresa, y impiden 
y impidieron porque no vaya, adelante, sin considerar cuanta honra 
y grandeza es del Real Estado da vuestras Altezas en todo el 
mundo ; no saben que entreponer á maldecir de esto, salvo que se 
hace gasto en ello, y porque luego no enviaron los navios cargados 
de oro sin considerar la brevedad del tiempo y tantos inconveni- 
entes como acá se han habido, y no considerar que en Castilla en 
casa de vuestras Altezas salen cada año personas que por su 
merecimiento ganaron en ella mas de renta cada uno dellos mas 
de lo ques necesario que se gaste en esto ; ansimesmo sin con- 
siderar que ningunos Principes de España jamas ganaron tierra 
alguna fuera della, salvo agora que vuestras Altezas tienen acá 
otro mundo, de adonde puede ser tan acrescentada nuestra santa 
fe, y de donde se podrán sacar tantos provechos, que bien que no 


nevertheless, sent satisfactory samples, botli of gold and of 
other valuable commodities, by winch it may be judged that 
in a short time large profit may be derived. Neither do they 
take into consideration the noble spirit of the princes of 
Portugal, who so long ago carried into execution the ex- 
ploration of Guinea, and still follow it up along the coast of 
Africa, in which one-half of the population of the country has 
been employed, and yet the King is more determined on the 
enterprise than ever. The Lord grant all that I have said, 
and lead them to think deeply upon what I have written ; 
which is not the thousandth part of what might be written 
of the deeds of princes who have set their minds upon 
gaining knowledge, and upon obtaining territory and 
keeping it. 

I say all this, not because I doubt the inclination of your 
Highnesses to pursue the enterprise while you live, — for I 
rely confidently on the answers your Highnesses once gave 
me by word of mouth, — nor because I have seen any change 
in your Highnesses, but from the fear of what I have heard 
from those of whom I have been speaking ; for I know that 

se hayan enviado los navios cargados de oro, se han enviado sufi- 
cientes muestras dello y de otras cosas de valor, por donde se 
puede juzgar que en breve tiempo se podi'á haber mucho provecho, 
y sin mirar el gran corazón de los Príncipes de Portugal que há 
tanto tiempo que prosiguen la impresa de Guinea, y prosiguen 
aquella de Africa, adonde han gastado la mitad de la gente de su 
Reino, y agora está el Rey mas determinado á ello que nunca. 
Nuestro Señor provea en esto como yo dije, y les ponga en 
memoria de considerar de todo esto que va escripto, que no es de 
mil partes la una de lo que yo podria escrebir de cosas de Pinncipes 
que se ocuparon á saber y conquistar y sostener. 

Todo esto dije, y no porque crea que la voluntad de vuestras 
Altezas sea salvo proseguir en ello en cuanto vivan, y tengo por 
muy firme lo que me respondió vuestras Altezas una vez que por 
palabra le decir desto, no porque yo bebiese visto mudamiento 
ninguno en vuestras Altezas salvo por temor de lo (|ue yo oia 


water dropping on a stone will at length make a hole. Your 
Higlinesses responded to me with that nobleness of feeling 
which all the world knows you to possess^ and told me to pay- 
no attention to these calumniations; for that your intention 
was to follow up and support the undertaking, even if nothing 
were gained by it but stones and sand. Your Highnesses 
also desired me to be in no way anxious about the expense, 
for that much greater cost had been incurred on much more 
trifling matters, and that you considered all the past and 
future expense as well laid out; for that your Highnesses 
believed that our holy faith would be increased, and your 
royal dignity enhanced, and that they were no friends of the 
royal estate who spoke ill of the enterprise. 

And now, during the despatch of the information respect- 
ing these lands which I have recently discovered, and where 
I believe in my soul that the earthly paradise is situated, 
the " Adelantado" will proceed with three ships, well stocked 
with provisions, on a further investigation, and will make all 
the discoveries he can about these parts. Meanwhile, I shall 
send your Highnesses this letter, accompanied by a map of 

destos que yo digo, y tanto da una gotera de agua en una piedra 
que le hace un agujero ; y vuestras Altezas me respondió con aquel 
corazón que se sabe en todo el mundo que tienen, y me dijo que 
no curase de nada de eso, porque su voluntad era de proseguir esta 
empresa y sostenerla, aunque no fuese sino piedras y peñas, y quel 
gasto que en ello se hacia que lo tenia en nada, que en otras cosas 
no tan grandes gastaban mucho mas, y que lo tenian todo por muy 
bien gastado lo del pasado y lo que se gastase en adelante, porque 
creian que nuestra santa fe sería acrecentada y su Real Señorío 
ensanchado, y que no eran amigos de su Real Estado aquellos que 
les maldecían de esta empresa : y agora entre tanto que vengan á 
noticia desto destas tierras que agora nuevamente he descubierto, 
en que tengo asentado en el ánima que allí es el Paraíso terrenal, 
irá el Adelantado con tres navios bien ataviados para ello á ver mas 
adelante, y descubrirán todo lo que pudieren hacia aquellas partes. 
Entretanto yo enviaré á vuestras Altezas esta escriptura y la pm- 


the country^ and your Majesties will determine on what is to 
be done, and give your orders as to how it is your pleasure 
that I should proceed : the which, by the aid of the Holy 
Trinity, shall be carried into execution with all possible dili- 
gence, in the faithful service and to the entire satisfaction of 
your Majesties. Thanks be to God. 

tura de la tierra, y acordarán lo que en ello se deba facer, y me 
enviarán á mandar, y se cumplirá con ayuda de la Santa Trinidad 
con toda diligencia en manera que vuestras Altezas sean servidos 
y hayan placer. Deo gracias. 



Of the Admiral to the (quondam) nurse^ of the Prince JoJm, 
written near the end of the year 1500. 

Most virtuous lady : Althougli it is a novelty for me to com- 
plain of the ill-usage of the world, it is, nevertheless, no 
novelty for the world to practise ill-usage. Innumerable are 
the contests which I have had with it, and I have resisted all 
its attacks until now, when I find, that neither strength nor 
prudence is of any avail to me : it has cruelly reduced me to 
the lowest ebb. Hope in Him who created us all is my 
support : His assistance I have always found near at hand. 
On one occasion, not long since, when I was extremely 
depressed. He raised me with His Divine arm, saying : 


Del Almirante al ama (que halda sido) del Principe P. Juan, escrita 
hacia fines del año 1500. 

Muy virtuosa Señora: Si mi queja del mundo es nueva, su uso de 
maltratar es de muy antiguo. Mil combates me ha dado y á todos 
resistí fasta agora que no me aprovechó armas ni avisos. Con 
crueldad me tiene echado al fondo. La esperanza de aquel que crio 
á todos me sostiene : su socorro fue siempre muy presto. Otra vez, 
y no de lejos estando yo mas bajo, me levantó con su brazo divino, 
diciendo : ó hombre de poca fe, levántate que yo soy, no hayas miedo. 
Yo vine con amor tan entrañable á servir á estos Principes, y he 

1 Although Zuñiga says that Doña Maria de Guzman was appointed 
nurse by Queen Isabella at the birth of Prince John, it is nevertheless 
certain that this letter was addressed by Columbus to Doña Juana de la 
Torres, a great favourite of the queen, sister of Antonio de Tori-es, who 
was with the admiral in the second voyage, and who bore the memorial 
to their Highnesses. 


" man of little faith, arise, it is I, be not afraid."^ I offered 
myself with such earnest devotion to the service of these 
princes, and I have served them with a fidelity hitherto un- 
equalled and unheard of. God made me the messenger of 
the new heaven and the new earth, of which He spoke in 
the Apocalypse by St. John, after having spoken of it by the 
mouth of Isaiah ; and He showed me the spot where to find 
it. All proved incredulous ; except the Queen my mistress, 
to whom the Lord gave the spirit of intelligence and great 
courage, and made her the heiress of all, as a dear and well 
beloved daughter. I went to take possession of it in her 
royal name. All sought to cover the ignorance in which 
they were sunk, by dwelling on the inconveniences and 
expense of the proposed enterprise. Her Highness held 
the contrary opinion, and supported it with all her power. 
Seven years passed away in deliberations, and nine have 
been spent in accomplishing things truly memorable, and 
worthy of being preserved in the history of man. Never had 
such a thing been conceived. 

I have now reached that point, that there is no man so vile 

servido de servicio de que jamas se oyó ni vido. Del nuevo cielo 
y tierra que decia nuestro Señor por S. Juan en el Apocalipse, 
después de dicho por boca de Isaías, me hizo dello mensagero, y 
amostró en cual parte. En todos hobo incredulidad, y á la Reina 
mi Señor dio dello el espíritu de inteligencia y esfuerzo grande, y 
lo hizo de todo heredera como á cara y muy amada hija. La po- 
sesión de todo esto fui yo á tomar en su Real nombre. La igno- 
rancia en que habían estado todos quisieron enmendallo traspasando 
el poco saber á fablar en inconvenientes y gastos. Su Alteza lo 
aprobaba al contrario, y lo sostuvo fasta que pudo. Siete años se 
pasaron en la platica y nueve ejecutando cosas muy señaladas y 
dignas de memoria se pasaron en este tiempo : de todo no se fizo 

^ This is related by his son Don Ferdinand, in cap. 84 of his history, 
and is more amply described in the letter addressed by Columbus to the 
sovereigns, describing his fourth voyage. It took place the day after 
Christmas day, 1199. 


but thinks it his right to insult me. The day will come 
when the world will reckon it a virtue to him who has not 
given his consent to their abuse. If I had plundered the 
Indies^ even to the country where is the fabled altar of St. 
Peter^s^ and had given them all to the Moors, they could 
not have shown towards me more bitter enmity than they 
have done in Spain. Who would believe such things of a 
country where there has always been so much nobility ? I 
should much like to clear myself of this affair, if only it were 
consistent with etiquette to do so, face to face with my 
queen. The support which I have found in our Lord, and in 
her Highness, made me persevere, and, in order to relieve 
somewhat the griefs which death had occasioned her,^ I 
undertook another voyage to the new heavens and new 
earth, which had been hitherto concealed ; and if these are 
not appreciated in Spain, like the other parts of the Indies, 
it is not at all wonderful, since it is to my labours that they 
are indebted for them. The Holy Spirit encompassed St. 

concepto. Llegué yo y estoy que non ha nadie tan vil que no pi- 
ense de ultrajarme. Por virtud se contará en el mundo á quien 
puede no consentillo. Si yo robara las Indias ó tierra que san 
face- en ello de que agora es la fabla del altar de S. Pedro, y las 
diera á los moros, no pudieran en España amostrarme mayor 
enemiga. Quién creyera tal adonde hobo siempre tanta nobleza ? 
Yo mucho quisiera despedir del negocio si fuera honesto para con 
mi Reina : el esfuerzo de nuestro Señor y de su Alteza fizo que yo 
continuase, y por aliviarle algo de los enojos en que á causa de la 
muerte estaba, coraetí viaje nuevo al nuevo cielo é mundo, que 
fasta entonces estaba en oculto, y sino es tenido allí en estima, 
así como los otros de las Indias, no es maravilla porque salió á 
parecer de mi industria. A S. Pedro abrasó el Espíritu Santo y 

' He refers to the death of Prince John, which occm"red in Salamanca, 
on the foiu-th of October 1497. 

- There is no sense in this expression, nor as it is given in the " Códice 
Colombo Americano", where it stands thus: "que jaz hase ellas de 
que", etc. Perhaps " hase" is miscopied for " hacia" " towards." 


Peter, and tlie rest of the twelve, who all had conflicts here 
below ; they wrought many works, they suflFered great 
fatigues, but at last they obtained the victory. I believed 
that this voyage to Paria would produce a certain amount 
of contentment, because of the pearls and the discovery of 
gold in the island of Española. I left orders for the people 
to fish for pearls, and collect them together, and made an 
agreement with them that I should return for them ; and I 
was given to understand that the supply would be abundant. 

If I have not written respecting this to their Highnesses, 
it is because I wished first to render an equally favourable 
account of the gold ; but it has happened with this as with 
many other things ; I should not have lost them, and with 
them my honour, if I had been only occupied about my own 
private interests, and had suffered Española to be lost, or 
even if they had respected my privileges and the treaties. I 
say the same with regard to the gold which I had then col- 
lected, and which I have brought in safety, by Divine grace, 
after so much loss of life and such excessive fatigues. 

In the voyage which I made by way of Paria, I found 
nearly half the colonists of Española in a state of revolt, and 
they have made war upon me until now as if I had been a 

con él otros doce, y todos combatieron acá, y los trabajos y fatigas 
fueron muchas ; en fin de todo llevaron la victoria. Este viaje de 
Paria creí que apaciguara algo por las perlas y la fallada del oro 
en la Española. Las perlas mandé yo ayuntar y pescar á la gente 
con quien quedó el concierto de mi vuelta por ellas, y á mi com- 
prender á medida de fanega : si yo non lo escribí a SS. AA. fue 
porque así quisiera haber fecho del oro antes. Esto me salió como 
otras cosas muchas ; no las perdiera ni mi honra si buscara yo mi 
bien propio y dejara perder la Española, ó se guardaran mis pre- 
vilegios é asientos. T otro tanto digo del oro que yo tenia agora 
junto, que con tantas muertes y trabajos, por virtud divinal, he 
llegado á perfecto. Cuando yo fui á Paria fallé cuasi la mitad de 
la gente en la Española alzados, y me han guerreado fasta agora 


Moor ;^ while on the other side^ I had to contend with the no 
less cruel Indians. Then arrived Hojeda/and he attempted 
to put the seal to all these disorders ; he said that their 
Highnesses had sent him^ with promises of presents, of im- 
munities, and treaties ; he collected a numerous band, for in 
the whole island of Española, there were few men who were 
not vao'abonds, and there were none who had either wife or 
children. This Hojeda troubled me much, but he was 
obliged to retreat, and at his departure he said, that he would 
return with more ships and men, and reported also, that he 
liad left the queen at the point of death,^ In the meanwhile, 
Yincent Yaiiez came with four caravels ; and there were 
some tumults and suspicions, but no further evil. The 
Indians reported many other cai-avels to the cannibals, and 
in Paria ; and afterwards spread the news of the arrival of 
six other caravels, commanded by a brother of the alcalde; 

como á moro, y los indios por otro cabo gravemente. En esto 
vino Hojeda y probó á echar el sello, y dijo que sus Altezas lo 
enviaban con promesas de dádivas y franquezas y paga : allegó 
gran cuadrilla, que en toda la Española muy pocos hay, salvo 
vagabundos y ninguno con muger y fijos. Este Hojeda me 
trabajó harto y fuele necesario de se ir, y dejó dicho que luego 
seria de vuelta con mas navios y gente, y que dejaba la Real 
persona de la Reina á la muerte. En esto llegó Viceinte Yañez 
con cuatro carabelas : hobo alboroto y sospechas, mas no daño. 
Los indios dijeron de otras muchas á los caníbales y en Paria, y 
después una nueva de seis otras carabelas que traía un hermano 

• After the admiral had discovered the island of Trinidad, he sailed 
along the coast of Paria, discovered the island of Margarita, and entered 
the harbour of San Domingo the thirtieth of August 1498, where he 
found the colony in rebellion, and the Spaniards embroiled in quarrels, 
both with each other and with the Indians. 

2 Alonzo de Hojeda reached Española on the fifth of September 1498. 

=• Roldan was by this time reconciled to the Admiral, and the rebellion 
was allayed, when Hojeda arrived, making great boast of his favour 
with bishop Fonseca, Columbus' enemy, and endeavoured to excite fresh 
animosity against him ; but he had to leave Española completely. 


but this was from pure malice, and at a time when at 
length there remained but little hope that their High- 
nesses would send any more ships to the Indies, and 
we no longer expected them, and when it was said openly 
that her Highness (the queen) was dead. At this time, 
one Adrian attempted a new revolt, as he had done before ;^ 
but our Lord did not permit his evil designs to succeed. I 
had determined not to inflict punishment on any person, 
but his ingratitude obliged me, however regretfully, to aban- 
don this resolution. I should not have acted otherwise 
with my own brother, if he had sought to assassinate me, 
and to rob me of the lordship which my sovereigns had 
given to my keeping. This Adrian, as is now evident, had 
sent Don Ferdinand to Xaragua, to assemble some of his 
partisans, and had some discussions with the alcalde, which 
ended in violence, but all without any good. The alcalde 
seized him and a part of his band ; and in fact, executed 
justice without my having ordered it. While they were in 
prison, they were expecting a caravel, in which they hoped 
to embark ; but the news which I told them of what had 

del Alcalde, mas fue con malicia, y esto fue ya á la postre cuaudo 
ya estaba muy rota la esperanza que sus Altezas hobiesen jamas 
de enviar navios á las Indias, ni nos esperarlos, y que vulgarmente 
decían que su Alteza era muerta. Un Adrian en este tiempo 
probó alzarse otra vez como de antes, mas nuestro Señor no quiso 
que llegase á efecto su mal propósito. Yo tenia propuesto en mi 
de no tocar el cabello á nadie, y á este por su ingratitud con 
lágrimas no se pudo guardar, así como yo lo tenia pensado. A mi 
hermano no hiciera menos si me quisiera matar y robar el señorío 
que mi Rey é Reina me tenían dado en guarda. Este Adrian, 
según se muestra, tenia enviado á D. Fernando á Jaragua á alle- 
gar á algunos sus secuaces, y allá liobo debate con el Alcalde, 
adonde nació discordia de muerte ; mas no llegó á efecto. El 
Alcalde le prendió y á parte de su cuadi'illa : y el caso era que él 
los justiciaba sin que yo lo proveyere : estovieren presos esperando 
carabela en que se fuesen : las nuevas de Hojeda que yo dije 

' Adrian INIogica, who had been one of the rebels with Roldan. 


happened to Hojeda^ deprived them of the hope that he 
would arrive in this ship. It is now six months that I have 
been ready to leave^ to bring to their Highnesses the good 
news of the gold^ and to give up the government of these 
dissolute people, who fear neither God nor their king nor 
queeUj but ai'e full of imbecility and malice. I should have 
been able to pay every one with six hundred thousand 
maravedís, and for this purpose there were four millions 
and more of the tithes, without reckoning the third part of 
the gold. 

Before my departure (from Spain) I have often entreated 
their Highnesses to send to these parts, at my expense, some 
one charged to administer justice ; and since, when I found 
the alcalde in a state of i-evolt, I have besought them afresh 
to send at least one of their servants with letters, because I 
myself have had so strange a character given to me, that if 
I were to build churches or hospitals, they would call them 
caves for robbers. Their Highnesses provided for this at 
last, but in a manner quite unequal to the urgency of the 
circumstances ; however, let that point rest, since such is 
their good pleasure. I remained two years in Spain without 
being able to obtain anything for myself, or those who came 

ficieron perder la esperanza que ya no venia. Seis meses había 
que yo estaba despachado para venir á sus Altezas con las buenas 
nuevas del oro y fuir de gobernar gente disoluta que no teme á 
Dios ni á su Rey ni Reina, llena de achaques y de malicias. A la 
gente acabara yo de pagar con seiscientos mil maravedises : y 
para ello habia cuatro cuentos de diezmos é alguno sin el tercio 
del oro. Antes de mi partida supliqué tantas veces á sus Altezas 
que enviasen allá á mi costa á quien tuviese cargo de la justicia, 
y después que fallé alzado al Alcalde se lo supliqué de nuevo ó 
por alguna gente, ó al menos algún criado con cartas, porque mi 
fama es tal que aunque yo faga iglesias y hospitales siempre serán 
dichas espeluncas para latrones. Proveyeron ya al fin, y fue muy 
al contrario de lo que la negociación demandaba : vaya en buena 
hora, pues que es á su grado. Yo estuve allá dos años sin poder 


with me/ but this man has gained for himself a full purse : 
God knows if all will be employed for his service. Already, 
to begin with, there is a revenue for twenty years, which is, 
according to man^s calculation, an age ; and they gather gold 
in such abundance, that there are people who, in four hours, 
have found the equivalent of five marks ; but I will speak on 
this subject more fully hereafter. If their Highnesses would 
condescend to silence the popular rumours, which have gained 
credence among those who know what fatigues I have sus- 
tained, it would be a real charity ; for calumny has done me 
more injury than the services which I have rendered to their 
Highnesses, and the care with which I have preserved their 
property and their government, have done me good. By 
their so doing, I should be re-established in reputation, and 
spoken of throughout the universe : for the matter is of a 
kind which must every day be more talked of and appre- 

In the meanwhile, the commander Bobadilla arrived at St. 
Domingo,^ at which time I was at La Vega, and the Ade- 

ganar una provision de favor para mi ni por los que allá fuesen, 
y este llevó una arca llena : si pararán todas á su servicio Dios lo 
sabe. Ya por comienzos hay franquezas por veinte años, que es 
la edad de un hombre, j se coge el oro, que bobo persona de cinco 
.marcos en cuatro horas, de que diré después mas largo. Si 
pluguiese á sus Altezas de desfacer un vulgo de los que saben mis 
fatigas, que mayor daño me ha hecho el mal decir de las gentes 
que no me ha aprovechado el mucho servir y guardar su facienda 
y señorío, seria limosna, é yo restituido en mi honra, é se fablaria 
dello en todo el mundo, porquel negocio es de calidad que cada 
dia ha de ser mas sonada y en alta estima. En esto vino el 
Comendador Bobadilla á Santo Domingo, yo estaba en la Vega y 

• Columbus returned to Cadiz from his second voyage, on the 11th of 
June, 1496. He was well received by the sovereigns, and they gave 
orders for preparing the requisites for a third voyage ; but the fulñl- 
ment of these orders was delayed by Bishop Fonseca until the 30th of 
May, 1498. 

^ Francesco de Bobadilla, commander of the order of Calatrava, 
reached San Domingo on the 2ord of August, 1500. 


lantado at Xaragua, where this Adrian had made his at- 
tempt ; but by that time everything was quiet, the land was 
thriving, and the people at peace. The day after his arrival 
he declared himself governor, created magistrates, ordered 
executions, published immunities from the collection of gold 
and from the paying of tithes ; and, in fine, announced a 
general franchise for twenty years, which is, as I have said, 
the calculation of an age. He also gave out that he was 
going to pay everyone, although they had not even done the 
service which was due up to that day ; and he further pro- 
claimed that he had to send me back loaded with chains, and 
my brother also (this he has done) ;^ arid that neither I, nor 
any of my family, should ever return to these lands : and, in 
addition, he made innumerable unjust and disgraceful 
charges against me. All this took place, as I have said, on 
the very day after his arrival, at which time I was absent at 
a distance, thinking neither of him nor of his coming. Some 
letters of their Highnesses, of which he brought a consider- 
able number signed in blank, he filled up with exaggerated 
language, and sent round to the alcalde and his myrmidons, 
accompanying them with compliments and flattery. To me 

el Adelantado en Jaragua, donde este Adrian había hecho cabeza, 
mas ya todo era llano y la tierra rica, y en paz toda. El segundo 
dia que llegó se crió Gobernador y fizo oficiales y ejecuciones, y 
apregonó franquezas del oro y diezmos, y generalmente de toda 
otra cosa por veinte años, que como digo es la edad de un hombre, 
y que venia para pagar á todos, bien que no habían servido llena- 
mente hasta ese dia, y publicó que á mi rae había de enviar en 
fierros, y á mis hermanos, así como lo ha fecho, y que nunca yo 
volvería mas allí ni otro de mí linage, diciendo de mi raíl des- 
honestidades y descorteses cosas. Esto todo fue el segundo día 
quel llegó, como dije, y estando yo lejos absenté sin saber dello ni 
de su venida. Unas cartas de sus Altezas firmadas en blanco, de 

' This expression of the Admiral's, makes it appear that he wrote 
this letter when he was near reaching Cadiz, on the 25th of November, 


he never sent either a letter or a messenger, nor has he done 
so to this day. Reflect upon this, madam ! what could any 
man in my situation think ? Could it be that honour and 
favour were to be conferred on him who had lent himself to 
plundei'ing their Highnesses of their sovereignty, and who 
had done so much injury and mischief? — Could it be that he 
who had defended and preserved their cause through so 
many dangers, was to be dragged through the mire ? When 
I heard this, I thought he must be like Hojeda, or one of the 
other rebels ; but I held my peace, when I learned for cer- 
tain, from the friars, that he had been sent by their High- 
nesses. I wrote to him, to salute him on his arrival, to let 
him know that I was ready to set out to go to court, and 
that I had put up to sale all that [ possessed. I entreated 
him not to be in haste on the subject of the grants ; and I 
assured him that I would shortly yield this, and everything 
else connected with the government, implicitly into his 
charge. I wrote the same thing to the ecclesiastics, but I 
received no answer either from the one or the other. On 
the contraiy, he took a hostile position, and obliged those 

que el llevaba una cantidad, hinchó y envió al Alcalde y á su 
compañía con favores y encomiendas. A mi nunca me envió carta 
ni mensagero, ni me ha dado fasta hoy. Piense vuestra merced 
qué pensaria quien tuviera mi cargo ? honrar y favorecer á quien 
probó á robar á sus Altezas el señorío, y ha fecho tanto mal y daño ! 
y arrastrar á quien con tantos peligros se lo sostuvo ? Cuando 
supe esto, creí que esto seria como lo de Hojeda, ó uno de los 
otros : templóme que supe de los frailes de cierto que sus Altezas 
lo enviaban. Escrebile yo que su venida fuese en buena hora, y 
que yo estaba despachado para ir á la corte, y fecho almoneda de 
cuanto yo tenia, y que en esto de las franquezas que no se 
acelerase, que esto y el gobierno yo se lo daria luego tan llano 
como la palma, y así lo escribí a los religiosos. Ni él ni ellos me 
dieron respuesta, antes se puso él en son de guerra, y apremiaba á 
cuantos allí iban que le jurasen por Gobernador, dijeronme que 
por veinte años. Luego que yo supe de estas franquezas pensé 



who went to his residence to acknowledge him for governor, 
as I have been told, for twenty years. As soon as I knew 
what he had done with regard to the immunities, I proposed 
to repair this great mistake, and I thought he would himself 
be glad of it ; for, without any reason or necessity, he had 
bestowed upon vagabonds privileges of such importance, that 
they would have been excessive even for men with wives a,nd 
children. I published verbally, and in writing, that he 
could not make use of his credentials, because mine were of 
higher authority, and I showed the grants brought by Juan 
Aguado. All this I did for the purpose of gaining time, 
that their Highnesses might be informed as to the state of 
the country, and that they might have opportunity to give 
fresh orders upon everything touching their interests. It is 
useless to publish such grants in the Indies, — all is in favour 
of the settlers who have taken up their abode there, because 
the best lands are given up to them ; and, at a low estimate, 
they are worth two hundred thousand maravedís a head for 
the four years, at which they are taken.^ without a single 
stroke of the mattock. I should not say so much if these 
people Avere married men ; but there are not six among them 

de adobar un yerro tan grande, y que él seria contento, las cuales 
dio sin necesidad y causa de cosa tan gruesa y á gente vagabunda, 
que fuera demasiado para quien trujera muger y hijos. Publiqué 
por palabra y por cartas que él no podia usar de sus provisiones, 
porque las mias eran las mas fuertes, y les mostré las franquezas 
que llevó Juan Aguado. Todo esto que yo fice era por dilatar, 
porque sus Altezas fueseii sabidores del estado de la tierra, y 
hobiesen lugar de tornar á mandar en ello lo que fuese su servicio. 
Tales franquezas escusado es de las apregonar en las Indias. Los 
vecinos que han tomado vecindad es logro, porque se les dan las 
mejores tierras y á poco valer valoran docientos mil maravedís al 
cabo de los cuatro años que la vecindad se acaba, sin que den una 
azadonada en ellas. No diría yo así sí los vecinos fuesen casados, 
mas no hay seis entre todos que no estén sobre el aviso de ayuntar 
lo que pudieren y se ir en buena hora. De Castilla seria bien que 


all, whose purpose is not to amass all they can, and then 
decamp with it. It would be well that people should come 
from Spain, but that only such should be sent as are well 
known, so that the country may be peopled with honest 
men. I had agreed with these settlers that they should 
pay the third of the gold and of the tithes ; and this 
they not only assented to, but were very grateful to their 
Highnesses. I reproached them when I heard they had 
afterwards refused it ; they expected, however, to deal 
with me on the same terms as with the commander, but 
I would not consent to it. He meanwhile irritated them 
against me, saying, that I wished to deprive them of that 
which their Highnesses had given them ; and strove to 
make me appear their enemy, in which he succeeded to 
the full. He induced them to write to their Highnesses, 
that they should send me no more commissioned as governor 
(truly I do not desire it any more for myself, or for any who 
belong to me, while the people remain unchanged) ; and to 
conciliate them, he ordered inquiries to be made respecting 
me with reference to imputed misdeeds, such as were never 
invented in hell. But God is above, who with so much 
wisdom and power rescued Daniel and the three children, 

fuesen, j aun saber quién y cómo, y se poblase de gente honrada. 
Yo tenia asentado con estos vecinos que pagarían el tercio del oro 
y los diezmos, y esto á su ruego, y lo recibieron en grande merced 
de sus Altezas. Reprendiles cuando yo oí que se dejaban dello, 
y esperaban quel conmigo faría otro tanto, mas fue el contrario. 
Indignólos contra mí diciendo, que yo les quería quitar lo que sus 
Altezas les daban, y trabajo de me los echar acuestas, y lo hizo, y 
que escribiesen á sus Altezas que no me enviasen mas al cargo, y 
así se lo suplico yo por mí y por toda cosa mía, en cuanto no haya 
otro pueblo, y me ordenó él con ellos pesquisas de maldades que 
al infierno nunca se supo de las semejantes. Allí está nuestro 
Señor que escapó á Daniel y á los tres muchachos con tanto saber 
y fuerza como tenia, y con tanto aparejo sí le pluguiere como con 
su gana. Supiera yo remediar todo esto y lo otro que está dicho 

M 2 


and whoj if he please, can rescue me witli a similar manifest- 
ation of his power, and to the advancement of his own cause. 
I should have known well enough how to find a remedy for 
the evils which I now describe and have been describing as 
having happened to me since I came to the Indies, if I had 
had the wish or had thought it decent, to busy myself about 
my personal interest; but now I find myself undone, be- 
cause I have hitherto maintained the justice and augmented 
the territorial dominions of their Highnesses. Now that so 
much gold is found, these people stop to consider whether 
they can obtain the greatest quantity of it by theft, or by 
going to the mines. For one woman they give a hundred 
castellanos,^ as for a farm ; and this sort of trading is very 
common, and there are already a great number of merchants 
who go in search of girls ; there are at this moment from 
nine or ten on sale ; they fetch a good price, let their age be 
what it will. I assert that when I said that the commander 
could not confer immunities, I did what he desired, although 
I told him that it was to gain time until their Highnesses 
had received information respecting the country, and had 
given their orders as to the regulations best calculated to 

y ha pasado después que estoy en las Indias, si me consintiera la 
voluntad á procurar por mi bien propio y me fuera honesto. Mas 
el sostener de la justicia y acrecentar el señorío de sus Altezas 
fasta agora, me tiene al fondo. Hoy en día que se falla tanto oro 
hay division en que haya mas ganancia, ir robando ó ir á las minas. 
Por una muger también se fallan cien castellanos como por una 
labranza, y es mucho en uso, y ha ya fartos mercaderes que andan 
buscando muchachas : de nueve á diez son agora en precio : de todas 
edades ha de tener un bueno. Digo que en decir yo que el 
Comendador no podia dar franquezas que hice yo lo que él 
deseaba ; bien que yo á él dijese que era para dilatar fasta que sns 
Altezas toviesen el aviso de la tierra y tornasen á ver y mandar 
lo que fuese su servicio. Digo que la fuerza del maldecir de 
desconcertados me ha hecho mas daño que mis servicios fecho 
' An ancient gold coin, varying in value under different kings. 


advance their interest. I assert that the calumnies of injuri- 
ous men have done me more harm, than my services have 
done me good : which is a bad example for the present as 
well as for the future. I declare solemnly that a great 
number of men have been to the Indies, who did not deserve 
baptism in the eyes of God or men, and who are now return- 
ing thither. The governor has made every one hostile to 
me ; and it appears, from the manner of his acting, and the 
plans that he has adopted, that he was already my enemy, 
and very virulent against me when he arrived ; and it is said, 
that he has been at great expense to obtain this oflSce : but 
I know nothing about the matter except what I have heard. 
I never befoi'e heard of any one who was commissioned to 
make an inquiry, assembling the rebels, and taking, as 
evidence against their governor, wretches without faith, and 
who are unworthy of unbelief. If their Highnesses would 
cause a general inquiry to be made throughout the land, I 
assure you they would be astonished, that the island has not 
been swallowed up. I believe that you will recollect, that 
when I was driven by a tempest into the port of Lisbon (having 
lost my sails), I was falsely accused of having put in thither 
with the intention of giving the Indies to the sovereign of 

provecho : mal ejemplo es por lo presente y por lo futuro. Fago 
juramento que cantidad de hombres han ido á las Indias que no 
merescian el agua para con Dios y con el mundo, y agora vuelven 
allá. Enemistólos á ellos todos conmigo, y él parece, según se 
hobo y según sus formas, que ya lo venia y bien encendido, ó es 
que se dice que ha gastado mucho por venir á este negocio ; no se 
dello mas de lo que ojo. Yo nunca oí que el pesquisidor allegase 
los rebeldes y los tomase por testigos contra aquel que gobierna á 
ellos y á otros sin fe, ni dignos della. Si sus Altezas mandasen 
hacer una pesquisa general allí vos digo yo que verian por gran 
maravilla como la isla no sé funde. Yo creo que se acordará 
vuestra merced cuando lo tormenta sin velas me echó euLisbona, 
que fui acusado falsamente que habia ido ya allá al Rey para darle 
liis Indias. Después supieron sus Altezas al contrario, y que todo 


that country. Since then, their Highnesses have learned 
the contrary, and that it was all malice. Although I am an 
ignorant man, I do not imagine that any one supposed me 
so stupid as not to be aware, that even if the Indies had be- 
longed to me, I could not support myself without the assist- 
ance of some prince. In such case where should I find better 
support, or more security against expulsion, than in the king 
and queen our sovereigns ? who, from nothing, have raised 
me to so great an elevation, and who are the greatest princes 
of the world, on the land and on the sea. These princes 
know how I have served them, and they uphold my privi- 
leges and rewards ; and if any one violates them, their 
Highnesses augment them by ordering great favour to be 
shown me, and ordain me many honours, as was shown in 
the affair of Juan Aguado. Yes, as I have said, their High- 
nesses have received some services from me, and have taken 
my sons into their household, which would not have happened 
with another prince, because where there is no attachment, 
all other considerations prove of little weight. If I have now 
spoken severely of a malicious slander, it is against my will. 

fue con malicia. Bien que yo sepa poco : no sé quien me tenga 
por tan torpe que yo no conozca que aunque las Indias fuesen 
mias, que yo no me pudiera sostener sin ayuda de Príncipe. Si 
esto es así, adonde pudiera yo tener mejor arrimo y seguridad de 
no ser echado dellas del todo que en el Rey é Reina nuestros 
Señores, que de nada me han puesto en tanta honra y son los mas 
altos Príncipes por la mar y por la tierra del mundo ? los cuales 
tienen que yo les haya servido, é me guardan mis privilegios y 
mercedes, y si alguien me los quebranta sus Altezas me los 
acrescientan con aventaja, como se vido en lo de Juan Aguado, y 
me mandar hacer mucha honra, y como dije ya sus Altezas resci- 
bieron de mí servicios y tienen mis hijos sus criados, lo que en 
ninguna manera pudiera esto llegar con otro Príncipe, porque 
adonde no hay amor todo lo otro cesa. Dije yo agora ansi contra 
un maldecir con malicia y contra mi voluntad, porque es cosa que 
ni en sueños debiera allegar á memoria, porque las foi'masy fechos 


for it is a subject I would not willingly recall even in my 
dreams. The governor Bobadilla has maliciously exhibited 
in open day his character and conduct in this affair ; but I 
will prove without difficulty, that his ignorance, his cowardice, 
and his inordinate cupidity, have frustrated all his under- 
takings. I have already said that I wrote to him, as well as 
to the monks, and I set out almost alone, all our people being 
with the Adelantado and elsewhere, to remove suspicion ; 
when he heard this he seized Don Diego, and sent him on 
board a caravel, loaded with irons ; on my arrival he did the 
same to me; and afterwards to the Adelantado when he 
came. I have never spoken with him, and to this day he 
has not permitted any one to hold converse with me, and I 
solemnly declare that I cannot think for what reason I was 
made prisoner. His first care was to take the gold that I 
had, and that without measuring or weighing it, although I 
was absent ; he said he would pay those to whom it was 
owing, and if I am to believe what has been reported to me, 
he reserved to himself the greater part, and sent for 
strangers to make the bargains. I had put aside some 
samples of this gold, some as large as a goose's or a hen's 
egg, and of various sizes, which a few persons had collected 

del Comendador Bobadilla, con malicia las quiere alumbrar en 
esto : mas yo le faré ver con el brazo izquierdo que su poco saber 
y gran cobardiá con desordenada cudicia le ha fecho caer en ello. 
Ya dije como yo le escrebí y á los frailes, y luego partí así como 
le dije muy solo, porque toda la gente estaba con el Adelantado, y 
también por le quitar de sospecha : él cuando lo supo echó á D. 
Diego proso en una carabela cargado de fierros, y á mi en llegando 
fizo otro tanto, y después al Adelantado, cuando vino. Ni le fablé 
mas á él ni consintió que hasta hoy nadie me ha^^a fablado, y fago 
juramento que no puedo pensar por qué sea yo preso. La primera 
diligencia que fizo fue á tomar el oro, el cual hobo sin medida ni 
peso, é yo absenté dijo que quería él pagar dello á la gente, y 
según oí para sí fizo la primera parte, y enviar por resgate resgat- 
adores nuevos. Desto oro tenia yo apartado ciertas muestras, 


in a short space of time, tliat their Highnesses might be 
gratified and impressed with the importance of the affair, 
when they saw a quantity of large stones full of gold. This 
gold was the first that, after he had feathered his own nest 
(which he was in great haste to do), his malice suggested to 
give away, in order that their Highnesses might have a low 
opinion of the whole affair : the gold which required melting, 
diminished at the fire, and a chain weighing nearly twenty 
marks disappeared altogether. I have been yet more con- 
cerned respecting this matter of the gold than even about 
the affair of the pearls, that I have not been able to bring 
them to their Highnesses. In every thing that he thought 
could add to my annoyance, the governor has always shown 
himself 'ready to bestir himself. Thus, as I have said, with 
six hundred thousand maravedis, I should have paid every 
one, without injustice to any ; and I had more than four 
millions of tithes and constabulary dues, without touching 
the gold. He made the most absurd gifts, although I be- 
lieve he began with himself first ; their Highnesses will be 
able to ascertain the truth on this subject when they demand 
the account to be rendered them, especially if I may assist 

granos muy gruesos como huevos como de ánsar, de gallina y de 
pollas, y de otras muchas fecharas, que algunas personas tenían 
cogido en breve espacio, con que se alegrasen sus Altezas, y por 
ello comprendiesen el negocio con una cantidad de piedras grandes 
llenas de oro. Este fue el primero á se dar con malicia, porque 
sus Altezas no tuviesen este negocio en algo fasta quel tenga fecho 
el nido de que se dá buena priesa. El oro que está por fundir 
mengua al fuego : una cadena que pesaría fasta veinte marcos 
nunca se ha visto. Yo he sido muy agraviado en esto del oro mas 
aun que de las perlas, porque no las he traído á sus Altezas. El 
Comendador en todo lo que le pareció que me dañaría luego fue 
puesto en obra. Ta dije, con seiscientos mil maravedises pagara 
á todos sin robar á nadie y había mas de cuatro cuentos de diez- 
mos y alguacilazgo sin tocar en el oro. Hizo unas larguezas que 
son de risa, bien que creo que encoraenzó en sí la pi'imera parte : 


at the examination. He is continually saying, that there is 
a considerable sura owing, while it is only what I have al- 
ready reported, and even less. I have been wounded ex- 
tremely by the thought, that a man should have been sent 
out to make inquiry into my conduct, who knew, that if he 
sent home a very aggravated account of the result of his in- 
vestigation, he would remain at the head of the government. 
Would to God, their Highnesses had sent either him or some 
other person two years ago, for then I know that I should 
have had no cause to fear either scandal or disgrace ; they 
could not then have taken away my honour, and I could not 
have been in the position to have lost it. God is just, and 
He will in due time make known by whom and how it has 
been done. Let them judge me, as a governor who had 
been sent to Sicily or some province or city under regular 
government, and where the laws could be executed without 
fear of danger to the public weal or subjection to any enor- 
mous wrong. I ought to be judged as a captain sent from 
Spain to the Indies, to conquer a nation numerous and war- 
like, with customs and religion altogether different to ours ; 
a people who dwell in the mountains, without regular habi- 

alla lo sabrán sus Altezas cuando le mandaren tomar cuenta, en 
especial si yo estijyiese á ella. El no face sino decir que se debe 
gran suma, y es la que yo dije y no tanto. To he sido muy mucho 
agraviado en que se haya enviado pesquisidor sobre mí, que sepa 
que si la pesquisa que él enviai'e fuere muy grave que él quedai-á 
en el gobierno. — Pluguiera á nuestro Señor que sus Altezas le 
enviaran á él ó á otro dos años há, porque sé que yo fuera ya libre 
de escándalo y de infamia, y no se me quitara mi honra ni la per- 
diera : Dios es justo, y ha de hacer que se sepa por que y cómo. 
Allí me juzgan como Gobernador que fue á Cecilia ó ciudad ó villa 
puesta en regimiento y adonde las leyes se pueden guardar por 
entero sin temor de que se pierda todo, y rescibo grande agravio. 
Yo debo ser juzgado como Capitán que fue de España á con- 
quistar fasta las Indias á gente belicosa y mucha, y de costumbres 
y seta á nos muy contraria : los cuales viven por sierras y montes, 


tations for themselves or for us ; and where^ by the Divine 
will, I have subdued another world to the dominion of the 
King and Queen, our sovereigns ; in consequence of which, 
Spain, that used to be called poor, is now the most wealthy 
of kingdoms, I ought to be judged as a captain, who for 
so many years has borne arms, never quitting them for an 
instant. I ought to be judged by cavaliers who have them- 
selves won the meed of victory -^ by knights of the sword 
and not of title deeds; as least, so it would have been among 
the Greeks and Romans, or any modern nation in which 
exists so much nobility as in Spain ', for under any other 
judgment I receive great injury, because in the Indies there 
is neither civil right nor judgment seat. 

Already the road is opened to the gold and pearls, and it 
may surely be hoped that precious stones, spices, and a thou- 
sand other things, will also be found. Would to God that 
it were as certain that I should suffer no greater wrongs than 
I have already experienced, as it is that I would, in the name 
of our Lord, again undertake my first voyage ; and that I 
would undertake to go to Arabia Felix as far as Mecca, as I 

sin pueblo asentado ni nosotros ; y adonde por voluntad Divina 
he puesto só el señorío del Rey é de la Reina nuestros Señores otro 
mundo ; y por donde la España, que era dicha pobre, es la mas 
rica. Yo dobo ser juzgado como Capitán que de tanto tiempo 
fasta hoy trae las armas á cuestas sin las dejar una hora, y de 
Caballeros de conquistas y del uso, y no de letras, salvo si fuesen 
de Griegos ó de Romanos, ó de otros modernos de que hay tantos 
y tan nobles en España, ea de otra guisa rescibo grande agravio 
porque en las Indias no hay pueblo ni asiento. Del oro y perlas 
ya está abierta la puerta y cantidad de todo, piedras preciosas y 
especería, y de otras mil cosas se pueden esperar firmemente ; y 
nunca mas mal me viniese como con el nombre de Nuestro Señor 
le daría el primer viage, así como diera la negociación del Arabia 

i The cid Spaniards used to give the name of " caballero de co7i- 
quista,'" to each of the conquerors, among whom the couquered lands 
wore divided. 


have said in the letter that I sent to their Highnesses by- 
Antonio de Torres, in answer to the division of the sea and 
land between Spain and the Portuguese ; and I would go 
afterwards to the North Pole, as I have said and given in 
writing to the monastery of the Mejorada. 

The tidings of the gold which I said I would give, are, 
that on Christmas-day, being greatly afflicted and tormented 
by the wicked Spaniards and the Indians, when I was at 
the point of leaving all to save my life if possible, our Lord 
comforted me miraculously, saying to me, " Tal'e courage, 
he not dismayed nor fear, I will 'provide for all ; tJie seven 
years, the term of the gold, are not yet passed; and in this, 
as in the rest, I ivill redress thee." I learned that same day, 
that there were twenty-four leagues of land where they found 
mines at every step, which appear now to form but one. 
Some of the people collected a hundred and twenty castel- 
lanos' worth in one day, others ninety ; and there have been 
those who have gathered the equivalent of nearly two hun- 
dred and fifty castellanos. They consider it a good day's 
work when they collect from fifty to seventy, or even from 
twenty to fifty, and many continue searching; the mean day's 
work is from six to twelve, and those who get less are very 

feliz fasta la Meca, como yo escribí á sus Altezas con Antonio de 
Torres en la respuesta de la repartición del mar é tierra con los 
Portugueses : y después viniera á lo de polo ártico, así coma lo 
dije y di por escripto en el monesterio de la Mejorada. Las nuevas 
del oro que yo dije que daría son que dia de Navidad, estando yo 
muy afligido guerreado de los malos Cristianos y de Indios, en 
términos de dejar todo y escapar si pudiese la vida ; me consoló 
nuestro Señor milagrosamente y dijo : " Esfuey'za, no desmayes 
ni temas : yo proveeré en todo ; los siete años del término del oro 
no son pasados, y en ello y en lo otro te daré remedio." Ese dia 
supe que había ochenta leguas de tierra, y en todo cabo dellas mi- 
nas ; el parecer agora es que sea toda una. Algunos han cogido 
ciento y veinte castellanos en un dia, otros noventa, y se ha llegado 
fasta docientos y cincuenta. De cincuenta fasta setenta, y otros 


dissatisfied. It appears tliat these mines, like all otBers, do 
not yield equally every day ; the mines are new, and those 
who collect their produce inexperienced. According to the 
judgment of everybody here, it seems that, if all Spain were 
to come over, every individual, however inexpert he might 
be, would gain the equivalent of at least one or two castel- 
lanos in a day ; and so it is up to the present time. It is 
certain that any man who has an Indian to work for him, 
collects as much, but the management depends upon the 
Spaniard. See, now, what discernment was shown by 
Bobadilla when he gave up everything for nothing, and 
four millions of tithes without any reason, and even without 
being asked to do so, and without first giving notice to their 
Highnesses of his intention ; and this is not the only evil 
which he has caused. I know, assuredly, that the errors 
which I may have fallen into, have been committed without 
any intention of doing wrong, and I think that their High- 
nesses will believe me when I say so ; but I know and see 
that they show mercy towards those who intentionally do 
injury to their service. I, however, feel very certain that 
the day will come when they will treat me much better; 

muchos de veinte fasta cincuenta, es tenido por buen jornal y mu- 
chos lo continuaban : el común es seis fasta doce, y quien de aquí 
abaja no es contento. Parece también que estas minas son como 
las otras que responden en los dias no igualmente : las minas son 
nuevas y los cogedores. El parecer de todos es que aunque vaya 
allá toda Castilla, que por torpe que sea la persona, que no abajará 
de un castellano ó dos cada dia, y agora es esto así en fresco. Es 
verdad que el que tiene algún indio coge esto, mas el iiegocio con 
siste en el Cristiano. Ved que discreción fue de Bobadilla dar 
todo por ninguno y cuatro cuentos de diezmos sin causa ni ser 
requerido, sin primero lo notificar á sus Altezas ; y el daño no es 
este solo. Yo sé que mis yerros no han sido con fin de facer mal, 
y creo que sus Altezas lo creen así como yo lo digo ; y sé y veo 
que usan de misericordia con quien maliciosamente los desirve. 
Yo creo y tengo por muy cierto que muy mejor y mas piedad 


since, if I have been in error, it has been innocently and 
under the force of circumstances, as they will shortly under- 
stand beyond all doubt : I, who am their creature, and whose 
services and usefulness they will every day be more wiHing 
to acknowledge. They will weigh all in the balance, even 
as, according to the Holy Scripture, it will be with the evil 
and the good at the day of judgment. If, nevertheless, their 
Highnesses ordain me another judge, which I do not expect, 
and if my examination is to be holden in the Indies, I humbly 
beseech them to send over two conscientious and respectable 
persons at ray expense, and they would readily acknowledge 
that, at this time, five marks of gold may be found in 
four hours : be it however as it may, it is highly necessary 
that their Highnesses "should have this matter inquired into. 
The governor, on his arrival at St. Domingo, took up his 
abode in my house, and appropriated to himself all that was 
therein. Well and good ; perhaps he was in want of it : but 
even a pirate does not behave in this manner towards the 
merchants that he plunders. That which grieves me most 
is the seizure of my papers, of which I have never been able 
to recover one ; and those that would have been most use- 

harán conmigo que caí en ello con inocencia y forzosamente, como 
sabrán después por entero, y el cual soy su fechura, y mirirán á 
mis servicios, y cognosceran de cada dia que son mtiy aventajados. 
Todo pornan en una balanza, así como nos cuenta la Santa Escrip- 
tura que será el bien con el mal en el dia del juicio. Si todavía 
mandan que otro rae juzgue, lo cual no espero, y que sea por 
pesquisa de las Indias, humilmente les suplico que envíen allá 
dos personas de consciencia y honrados á mi costa, los cuales fal- 
laran de ligero agora que se halla el oro cinco marcos en cuatro 
horas, con esto é sin ello es muy necesario que lo provean. El 
Comendador, en llegando á Santo Domingo se aposentóen mi casa ; 
así como la falló así dio todo por suyo : vaya en buena hora, quizá 
lo habia menester : cosario nunca tal usó con mercader. De mis 
escripturas tengo yo mayor queja que así me las haya tomado, que 
jamas se le pudo sacar una, y aquellas que mas me habían de 


ful to me in proving my innocence^ are precisely those which 
he has kept most carefully concealed. Behold the just and 
honest inquisitor ! But whatever he may have done, they 
tell me that he has now bidden good bye to justice and is 
simply a despot. Our Lord God retains His power and wis- 
dom as of old ; and^ above all things. He punishes injustice 
and ingratitude. 

aprovechar en mi disculpa esas tenia mas ocultas. Ved que justo 
y honesto pesquisidor. Cosa de cuantas él haya hecho me dicen 
que haya seido con término de justicia, salvo absolutamente. 
Dios nuestro Señor está con sus fuerzas y saber, como solía, y 
castiga en todo cabo, en especial la ingratitud de injurias. 



A Letter written by Bon Christopher Columbus, Viceroy and 
Admiral of the Indies, to the most Christian and mighty 
Sovereigns, the King and. Queen of Spain, in which are 
described the events of his voyage, and the countries, pro- 
vinces, cities, rivers, and other marvellous matters therein 
discovered, as well as the places where gold and other sub- 
stances of great richness and value are to be found. 

Most Serene, and very high, and mighty Princes, the King 
and Queen our Sovereigns : — My passage from Cadiz to the 
Canary occupied four days, and thence to the Indies, from 
which I wrote, sixteen days. My intention was to expedite 
my voyage as much as possible while I had good vessels, 
good crews and stores, and because Jamaica was the place to 
which I was bound. I wrote this in Dominica. 

Up to the period of my reaching these shores I expe- 


Carta que escribió D. Cristóbal Colon j Virey y Almirante de las In- 
dias, á los Cristianísimos y muy poderosos Bey y Reina de España, 
nuedros Señores, en que les notifica cuanto le ha acontecido en 
su viage ; y las tierras, provincias, ciudades, rios y otras cosas 
maravillosas, y donde hay minas de oro en mucha cantidad, y 
otras cosas de gran riqueza y valor. 

Serenísímos y muy altos y poderosos Príncipes Rey é Reina, 
nuestros Señores : De Cáliz pasé á Canaria en cuatro días, y dende 
á las Indias en diez y seis dias, donde escribia. Mi intención era 
dar prisa á mi viage en cuanto yo tenia los navios buenos, la 
gente y los bastimentos, y que mi derrota era en el Isla Jamaica ; 
y en la Isla Dominica escribí esto : fasta allí truje el tiempo á 


rieuced most excellent weather, but the niglit of my arrival 
came in with a dreadful tempest, and the same bad weather 
has continued ever since. On reaching the island of Es- 
pañola I despatched a packet of letters, by which I begged 
as a favour that a ship should be supplied me at my own cost 
in lieu of one of those that I had brought with me, and which 
had become unseaworthy, and could no longer carry sail. 
The letters were taken, and your Highnesses will know if a 
reply has been given to them. For my part I was forbidden 
to go on shore ; the hearts of my people failed them lest I 
should take them further, and they said that if any danger 
were to befall them, they should receive no succour, but, on 
the contrary, in all probability have some great affront offered 
them. Moreover every man had it in his power to tell me 
that the new Governor would have the superintendence of 
the countries that I might acquire. 

The tempest was terrible throughout the night, all the 
ships were separated, and each one driven to the last ex- 
tremity, without hope of anything but death ; each of them 
also looked upon the loss of the rest as a matter of certainty. 

pedir por la boca. Esa uoclie que allí entré fué con tormenta y 
grande, y me persiguió después siempre. Cuando llegué sobre la 
Española invié el envoltorio de cartas, y ci pedir por merced un 
navio por mis dineros, porque otro que yo llevaba era inavegable 
y no sufria velas. Las cartas tomaron, y sabrán si se las dieron 
la respuesta. Para raí fué mandarme de parte de ahí, que yo no 
pasase ni llegase á la tierra : cayó el corazón á la gente que iba 
conmigo, por temor de los llevar yo lejos, diciendo que si algún 
caso de peligro les viniese que no serian remediados allí, antes les 
sería fecha alguna grande afrenta. También á quien plugo dijo 
que el Comendador babia de proveer las tierras que yo ganase. 
La tormenta era terrible, y en aquella noche me desmembró los 
navios : á cada uno llevó por su cabo sin esperanzas, salvo de 
muerte : cada uno de ellos tenia por cierto que los otros eran per- 
didos, (j Quién nasció, sin quitar á Job, que no muriera deses- 


What man was ever born^ not even excepting Job^ who 
would not have been ready to die of despair at finding him- 
self as I then was, in anxious fear for my own safety, and 
that of my son, my brother, and my friends, and yet refused 
permission either to land or to put into hai-bour on the 
shores which by God's mercy I had gained for Spain with so 
much toil and danger ? 

But to return to the ships : although the tempest had so 
completely separated them from me as to leave me single, 
yet the Lord restored them to me in his own good time. 
The ship which we had the greatest fear for, had put out to 
sea for safety, and reached the island of Gallega, having lost 
her boat and a groat part of her provisions, which latter 
loss indeed all the ships suffered. The vessel in which I 
was, though dreadfully buffeted, was saved by our Lord's 
mercy from any injury whatever ; my brother went in the 
ship that was unsound, and he under God was the cause of 
its being saved. With this tempest I struggled on till I 
reached Jamaica, and there the sea became calm, but there 
was a strong current which carried me as far as the Queen's 
Garden without seeing land. Hence as opportunity afforded 
I pushed on for terra firma, in spite of the wind and a fear- 

perado ? que por mi salvación y de mi fijo, hermano y amigos me 
fuese en tal tiempo defendida la tierra y los puertos que yo, por la 
voluntad de Dios, gané á España sudando sangre ? E torno á Jos 
navios que así me habia llevado la tormenta y dejado á mí solo. 
Deparómelos nuestro Señor cuando le plugo. El navio Sospechoso 
habia echado á la mar, por escapar, fasta la isola la Gallega ; per- 
dió la barca, y todos gran parte de los bastimentos : en el que yo 
iba, abalumado á maravilla, nuestro Señor le salvó que no hubo 
daño de una paja. En el Sospechoso iba mi hermano ; y él, 
después de Dios, fue su remedio. E con esta tormenta, así a 
gatas, me llegué á Jamaica : allí se mudó de mar alta on calmería 
y grande coriñente, y me llevó fasta el Jardín de la Reina sin ver 
tiexTa. De allí, cuaudo pude, navegué á la tierra firme ; adonde 



ful contrary current^ against wliicK I contended for sixty 
daySj and after all only made seventy leagues. All this 
time I was unable to get into harbour, nor was there any 
cessation of the tempest, which was one continuation of 
rain, thunder, and lightning; indeed it seemed as if it were 
the end of the world. I at length reached the Cape of Gra- 
cias a Dios, and after that the Lord granted me fair wind 
and tide ; this was on the twelfth of September. Eighty- 
eight days did this fearful tempest continue, during which 
I was at sea, and saw neither sun nor stars ; my ships lay 
exposed, with sails torn, and anchors, rigging, cables, boats, 
and a great quantity of provisions lost; my people were very 
weak and humbled in spirit, many of them promising to 
lead a religious life, and all making vows and promising to 
perform pilgrimages, while some of them would frequently 
go to their messmates to make confession. Other tempests 
have been experienced, but never of so long a duration or 
so fearful as this : many whom we looked upon as brave 
men, on several occasions showed considerable trepidation ; 
but the distress of my son who was with me grieved me to 
the soul, and the more when I considered his tender age, for 

me salió el viento y corriente terrible al opósito : combatí con ellos 
sesenta clias, y en fin no le pude ganar mas de setenta leguas. En 
todo este tiempo no entré puerto, ni pude, ni me dejó tormenta del 
cielo, agua y trombones y relámpagos de continuo, que parecia el 
fin del mundo. Llegué al cabo de Gracias á Dios, y de allí me dio 
nuestro Señor próspero el viento y corriente. Esto fue á doce de 
Setiembre. Ochenta y ocho dias habia que no me habia dejado 
espantable tormenta, á tanto que no vide el sol ni estrellas por 
mar ; que á los navios tenia yo abiertos, á las velas rotas, y per- 
didas anclas y jarcia, cables, con las barcas y muchos bastimentos, 
la gento muy enferma, y todos contritos, y muchos con promesa 
de religion, y no nii3guno sin otros votos y romerías. Muchas 
veces habian llegado á se confesar los unos á los otros. Otras 
tormentas se han visto, mas no durar tanto ni con tanto espanto. 
Muchos esmorecieron, harto y hartas veces, que teníamos por 


he was but thirteen years old, and he enduring so much toil 
for so long a time. Our Lord, however, gave him strength 
even to enable him to encourage the rest, and he worked as if 
he had been eighty years at sea, and all this was a consolation 
to me. I myself had fallen sick, and was many times at the 
point of death, but from a little cabin that I had caused to 
be constructed on deck, I directed our course. My brother 
was in the ship that was in the worst condition and the most 
exposed to danger ; and my griof on this account was the 
greater that I brought him with me against his will. 

Such is my fate, that the twenty years of service through 
which I have passed with so much toil and danger, have pro- 
fited me nothing, and at this very day I do not possess a 
roof in Spain that I can call my own ; if I wish to eat or 
sleep, I have nowhere to go but to the inn or tavern, and 
most times lack wherewith to pay the bill. Another anxiety 
wrung my very heartstrings, which was the thought of my 
son Diego, whom I had left an orphan in Spain, and stripped 
of the honour and property which were due to him on my 
account, although I had looked upon it as a certainty, that 

esforzados. El dolor del fijo que yo tenia allí me arrancaba el 
ánima, j mas por verle de tan nueva edad de trece años en tanta 
fatiga, y durar en ello tanto : nuestro Señor le dio tal esfuerzo que 
él avivaba á los otros, y en las obras hacia el como si hubiera 
navegado ochenta años, y él me consolaba. Yo habia adolescido 
y llegado fartas veces á la muerte. De una camarilla, que yo 
mandé facer sobre cubierta, mandaba la via. Mi hermano estaba 
en el peor navio y mas peligroso. Gran dolor era mió, y mayor 
porque lo truje contra su grado ; porque por mi dicha, poco me 
han aprovechado veinte años de servicio que yo he servido con 
tantos trabajos y peligros, que hoy dia no tengo en Castilla una 
teja ; si quiero comer ó dormir no tengo, salvo al meson ó taberna, 
y las mas de las veces fíilta parar pagar el escote. Otra lastima 
me arrancaba el corazón por las espaldas, y era D. Diego mi hijo, 
que yo dejé en España tan huérfano y desposesionado de mi honra 
é hacienda ; bien que tenia por cierto que allá como justos y 

N 2 


your Majesties, as just and grateful Princes, would restore 
it to him in all respects with increase. I reached the land of 
Cariay, where I stopped to repair my vessels and take in pro- 
visions, as well as to afford relaxation to the men, who had 
become very weak. 1 myself (who, as I said before, had 
been several times at the point of death) gained information 
respecting the gold mines of which I was in search, in the 
province of Ciamba ; and two Indians conducted me to Ca- 
rambaru, where the people (who go naked) wear golden 
mirrors round their necks, which they will neither sell, give, 
nor part with for any consideration. They named to me 
many places on the sea-coast where there were both gold 
and mines. The last that they mentioned was Veragua, 
which was about five-and-twenty leagues distant from the 
place where we then were. I started with the intention of 
visiting all of them, but when I had reached the middle of 
my journey I learned that there were other mines at so short 
a distance that they might be reached in two days. I de- 
termined on sending to see them. It was on the eve of St. 
Simon and St. Jude, which was the day fixed for our depar- 
ture ; but that night there arose so violent a storm, that we 

agradecidos Principes le restituirían con acrescentamiento en 
todo. Llegué á tienda de Cariay, adonde me detiive á remediar 
los navios y bastimentos, y dar aliento á la gente, que venia muy 
enferma. Yo que, como dije, habia llegado muchas veces á la 
muerte, allí supe de las minas del oro de la provincia de Ciamba, 
que yo buscaba. Dos indios me llevaron á Carambaru, adonde la 
gente anda desnuda y al cuello un espejo de oro, mas no le querían 
vender ni dar á trueque. Nombráronme muchos lugares en la 
costa de la mar, adonde decían que había oro y minas ; el 
postrero era Veragua, y lejos de allí obra de veinte y cinco 
leguas : partí con intención de los tentar á todos, y llegado ya el 
medio supe que habia minas á dos jornadas de andadura : acorde 
de invíarlas á ver víspera de San Simon y Judas, que había de 
ser la partida : en esa noche se levantó tanta mar y viento, que 
fue necesario de correr hacía adonde él quiso ; é el indio adalid 


were forced to go wherever it drove us^ and tlie Indian who 
was to conduct us to the mines was with us ail the time. As 
I had found every thing true that had been told me in the 
different places which I had visited, I felt satisfied it would 
be the same with respect to Ciguare, which according to their 
account, is nine days' journey across the country westward : 
they tell me there is a great quantity of gold there, and that 
the inhabitants wear coral ornaments on their heads, and 
very large coral bracelets and anklets, with which article 
also they adorn and inlay their seats, boxes, and tables. 
They also said that the women there wore necklaces hang- 
ing down to their shoulders. All the people agree in the 
report I now repeat, and their account is so favourable that 
I should be content with the tithe of the advantages that 
their description holds out. They are all likewise acquainted 
with the pepper-plant. According to the account of these 
people, the inhabitants of Ciguare are accustomed to hold 
fairs and markets for carrying on their commerce, and they 
showed me also the mode and form in which they transact 
their various exchanges. Others assert that their ships carry 
guns, and that the men go clothed and use bows and arrows, 

de las minas siempre conmigo. En todos estos lugares, adonde 
yo habia estado, fallé verdad todo lo que yo había oído : esto me 
certifico que es así de la provincia de Cíguare, que según ellos, es 
descrita nueve jornadas de andadura por tierra al Poniente : allí 
dicen que hay infinito oro, y que traen corales en las cabezas, ma- 
nillas á los pies y á los brazos dello, y bien gordas ; y del, sillas, 
arcas, y mesas las guarnecen y enforran. También dijeron que 
las mugeres de allí traían collares colgados de la cabeza á las 
espaldas. En esto que yo dijo, la gente toda de estos lugares 
conciertan en ello, y dicen tanto que yo seria contento con el 
diezmo. También todos conocieron la pimienta. En Ciguare 
usan tratar en ferias y mercaderías : esta gente así lo cuentan, y 
me amestizaban el modo y forma que tienen en la barata. Otrosí 
dicen que las naos traen bombardas, arcos y flechas, espadas y 
corazas, y andan vestidos, y en la tierra hay caballos, y usan la 


swordsj and cuirasses^ and that on slioi^e tliey have horses 
which they use in battle^ and that they wear rich clothes and 
have most excellent houses.^ They also say that the sea sur- 
rounds Ciguare^ and that at ten days' journey from thence is 
the river Ganges. These lands appear to have the same bear- 
ings with respect to Veragua^ as Tortosa has to Fontarabia^ 
or Pisa to Venice. When I left Carambaru and reached the 
places in its neighbourhood, which I have above-mentioned 
as being spoken of by the Indians, I found the customs of 
the people correspond with the accounts that had been given 
of them, except as regarded the golden mirrors : any man 
who had one of them would willingly part with it for three 
hawks'-bells, although they were equivalent in weight to 
ten or fifteen ducats. These people resemble the natives of 
Española in all their habits. They have various modes of 
collecting the gold, none of which will bear comparison with 
the plans adopted by the Christians. 

All that I have here stated is from hearsay. This, how- 
ever, I know, that in the year ninety-four I sailed twenty- 
four degrees to the westward in nine hours, and there can 

guerra, y traen ricas vestiduras, y tienen buenas cosas. También 
dicen que la mar boxa á Ciguare, y de allí á diez jornadas es el 
rio de Gangnes. Parece que estas tierras están con Veragua, 
como Tortosa con Fuenterabía, ó Pisa con Venecia. Cuando yo 
partí de Carambaru y llegué á esos lugares que dije, fallé la gente 
en aquel mismo uso, salvo que los espejos del oro : quien los tenia 
los daba por tres cascabeles de gabilan por el uno, bien que 
pesasan diez ó quince ducados de peso. En todos sus usos son 
como los de la Española. El oro cogen con otras artes, bien que 
todos son nada con los de los Cristianos. Esto que yo he dicho 
es lo que oyó. Lo que yo sé es que el año de noventa y cuatro 
navegué en veinte y cuatro grados al Poniente en término de 

1 The word " cosas" has been replaced on conjecture by " casas," 
such being the idea entertained in the Italian translation, republished 
by Morelli. 


be no mistake upon the subject, because there was an eclipse; 
the suu was in Libra and the moon in Aries. What I had 
learned by the mouth of these people I already knew in de- 
tail from books. Ptolemy thought that he had satisfactorily 
corrected Marinus^ and yet this latter appears to have come 
very near to the truth. Ptolemy places Catigara at a distance 
of twelve lines to the west of his meridian/ which he fixes 
at two degrees and a third above Cape St. Vincent, in Por- 
tugal. Marinus comprises the earth and its limits in fifteen 
lines, and the same author describes the Indus in Ethiopia 
as being more than four-and-twenty degrees from the equi- 
noctial line, and now that the Portuguese have sailed there 
they find it correct. Ptolemy says also that the most southern 
land is the first boundary, and that it does not go lower down 
than fifteen degrees and a third. The world is but small ; 
out of seven divisions of it the dry part occupies six, and the 
seventh only is covered by water." Experience has shown 

nueve horas, y no pudo haber yerro porque hubo eclipses : el sol 
estaba en Libra y la luna en Ariete. También esto que ^''o supe 
por palabi'a habialo yo sabido largo por escrito. Tolomeo creyó 
de haber bien remedado á Marino, y ahora se falla su escritura 
bien propincua al cierto. Tolomeo asienta Catigara á doce lineas 
lejos de su Occidente, que él asentó sobre el cabo de San Vicente 
en Portugal dos grados y un tercio. Marino en quince líneas 
constituyó la tierra é términos. Marino en Etiopia escribe al 
ludo la línea equinocial mas de veinte y cuatro grados, y ahora 
que los Portugueses le navegan le fallan cierto. Tolomeo diz que 
la tierra mas austral es el plazo primero, y que no abaja mas de 
quince grados y un tercio. E el mundo es poco : el enjuto de ello 
es seis partes, la séptima solamente cubierta de agua : la experi- 

• The " line" of Columbus implies fifteen degrees, or one hour of 
longitude ; and the twelve lines which describe the distance of Catigara 
from the meridian of Ptolemy, equal one hundred and eighty degrees. 
Marinus of Tyre, reckoned two hundred and twenty- five degrees to the 
same space, which is equivalent to the fifteen lines stated by Columbus. 

- Every one will immediately see the incorrectness of this notion, 
arising from the belief of Columbus that the country he had discovered 


it, and I have written it with quotations from the Holy 
Scripture, in other letters, where I have treated of the 
situation of the terrestrial paradise, as approved by Holy 
Church ; and I say that the world is not so large as vulgar 
opinion makes it, and that one degree from the equinoctial 
line measures fifty-six miles and two-thirds ; and this may 
be proved to a nicety. But I leave this subject, which it is 
not my intention now to treat upon, but simply to give a 
naiTative of my laborious and painful voyage, although of all 
my voyages it is the most honoui-able and advantageous. I 
have said that on the eve of St. Simon and St. Jude I ran 
before the wind wherever it took me, without power to resist 
it ; at length I found shelter for ten days from the rough- 
ness of the sea and the tempest overhead, and resolved not 
to attempt to go back to the mines, which I regarded as 
already in our possession. When I started in pursuance of 
my voyage it was under a heavy rain, and reaching the 
harbour of Bastimentos I put in, though much against my 
will. The storm and a rapid current kept me in for fourteen 

encía ya está vista, y la escribí por otras letras y con adornamiento 
de la Sacra Escríptura con el sitio del Paraíso terrenal, que la 
santa Iglesia aprueba : digo que el mundo no es tan grande como 
dice el vulgo, y que un grado de la equinoccial está cincuenta y 
seis millas y dos tercios : pero esto se tocará con el dedo. Dejo 
esto, por cuanto no es mi propósito de fablar en aquella materia, 
salvo de dar cuenta de mi dui^o y trabajoso víage, bien que él sea 
el mas noble y provechoso. Digo que víspera de San Simon y 
Judas corrí donde el viento me llevaba, sin poder resistirle. En 
un puerto excusé diez días de gran fortuna de la mar y del cielo : 
allí acordé de no volver atrás á las minas, y déjelas ya por 
ganadas. Partí, por seguir mi víage, lloviendo : llegué á puerto 
de Bastimentos, adonde entré y no de grado : la tormenta y gran 
corriente me entró allí catorce días ; y después partí, y no con 

was the east coast of Asia. Instead of the land bearing a proportion of 
six-sevenths to the water, the water bears a proportion of about two- 
thirds to the laud. 


days, when I again set sail, but not with favourable weather. 
After I had made fifteen leagues with great exertions, the 
wind and the current drove me back again with great fury, 
but in again making for the port which I had quitted, I 
found on the way another port, which I named Retrete, 
where I put in for shelter with as much risk as regret, the 
ships being in sad condition, and my crews and myself ex- 
ceedingly fatigued, I remained there fifteen days, kept in 
by stress of weather, and when I fancied my troubles were 
at an end, I found them only begun. It was then that I 
changed my resolution with respect to proceeding to the 
mines, and proposed doing something in the interim, until 
the weather should prove more favourable for my voyage. 
I had already made four leagues when the storm recom- 
menced, and wearied me to such a degree that I absolutely 
knew not what to do ; my wound reopened, and for nine 
days my life was despaired of. Never was the sea seen so 
high, so terrific, and so covered with foam ; not only did the 
wind oppose our proceeding onward, but it also rendered it 
highly dangerous to run in for any headland, and kept me 
in that sea which seemed to me as a sea of blood, seething 
like a cauldron on a mighty fire. Never did the sky look 

buen tiempo. Cuando yo hube andado quince leguas forzosa- 
mente, me reposó atrás el viento y corriente con furia : volviendo 
yo al puerto de donde habia salido fallé en el camino al Retrete, 
adonde me retruje con harto peligro y enojo y bien fatigado yo y 
los navios y la gente : detúveme allí quince dias, que así lo quiso 
el cruel tiempo ; y cuando creí de haber acabado me fallé de 
comienzo : allí mudé de sentencia de volver á las minas, y hacer 
algo fasta que me viniese tiempo para mi viage y marear ; y 
llegado con cuatro leguas revino la tormenta, y me fatigó tanto á 
tanto que ya no sabia de mi parte. Allí se me refrescó del mal la 
llaga : nueve dias anduve perdido sin esperanza de vida : ojos 
nunca vieron la mar tan alta, fea y hecha espuma. El viento no 
era para ir adelante, ni daba lugar para correr hacia algún cabo. 
Allí me deteuia en aquella mar fecha sangre, herbiendo como 


more fearful ; during one day and one night it burned like a 
furnace, and emitted flashes in such fashion that each time I 
looked to see if my masts and my sails were not destroyed ; 
these flashes came with such alarming fury that we all thought 
the ship must have been consumed. All this time the waters 
from heaven never ceased, not to say that it rained, for it 
was like a repetition of the deluge. The men were at this 
time so crushed in spirit, that they longed for death as a 
deliverance from so many martyrdoms. Twice already had 
the ships suSered loss in boats, anchors, and rigging, and 
were now lying bare without sails. 

When it pleased our Lord, I returned to Puerto Grordo, 
where I recruited my condition as well as I could. I then 
once more attempted the voyage towards Veragua, although 
I was by no means in a fit state to undertake it. The wind 
and currents were still contrary. I arrived at nearly the 
same spot as before, and there again the wind and currents 
still opposed my progress ; once more I was compelled to 
put into harbour, not daring to encounter the opposition of 
Saturn^ with such a boisterous sea, and on so formidable a 

caldera por gran fuego. El cielo jamas fue visto tan espantoso : 
un clia con la noche ardió como forno : y así echaba la llama con 
los rayos, que cada vez miraba yo si me habia llevado los masteles 
y velas ; venían con tanta furia espantables que todos creíamos 
que me habían de fundir los navios. En todo este tiempo jamas 
cesó agua del cíelo, y no para decir que llovía, salvo que resegun- 
daba otro diluvio. La gente estaba ya tan molida que deseaban 
la muerte para salir de tantos martirios. Los navios ya habían 
perdido dos veces las barcas, anclas, cuerdas, y estaban abiertos, 
sin velas. 

Cuando plugo á nuesti'o Señor volví á Puerto Gordo, adonde 
reparé lo mejor que pude. Volví otra vez hacía Veragua para mí 
víage, aunque yo no estuviera para ello. Todavía era el viento y 
corrientes contrarios. Llegué casi adonde antes, y allí me salió 
otra vez el viento y corrientes al encuentro, y volví otra vez al 
puerto, que no osé esparar la oposición de Saturno con mares tan 

1 Morelli has given this passage thus: "la opposizion de Saturno cou 


coast ; for it almost always brings on a tempest or severe 
weatlier. This was on Christmas-day, about the hour of 
mass. Thus, after all these fatigues, I had once more to re- 
turn to the spot from whence I started ; and when the new 
year had set in, I returned again to my task : but although 
I had fine weather for my voyage, the ships were no longer 
in a sailing condition, and my people were either dying 
or very sick. On the day of the Epiphany, I reached 
Veragua in a state of exhaustion ; there, by our Lord^s good- 
ness, I found a river and a safe harbour, although at the 
entrance there were only ten spans of water. I succeeded 
in making an entry, but with great difficulty ; and on the 
following day the storm recommenced, and had I been still 
on the outside at that time, I should have been unable to 
enter on account of the bar. It rained without ceasing until 
the fourteenth of February, so that I could find no oppor- 
tunity of penetrating into the interior, nor of recruiting my 
condition in any respect whatever; and on the twenty- 
fourth of January, when I considered myself in perfect safety. 

desbaratados en costa brava, porque las mas de las veces trae 
tempestad ó fuerte tiempo. Esto fue dia de Navidad en horas 
de misa. Volví otra vez adonde yo habia salido con harta fatiga ; 
y pasado año nuevo torné á la porfía, que aunque me hiciera buen 
tiempo para mi viage, ya tenia los navios innavegables, y la gente 
muerta y enferma. Dia de la Epifanía llegué á Veragua, ya sin 
aliento : allí me deparó nuestro Señor un rio y seguro puerto, bien 
que á la entrada no tenia salvo diez palmos de fondo : metíme en 
él con pena, y el dia siguiente recordó la fortuna : si me falla 
fuera, no pudiera entrar á causa del banco. Llovió sin cesar 
fasta catorce de Febrero, que nunca hubo lugar de entrar en la 
tierra, ni de me remediar en nada : y estando ya seguro á veinte 
y cuatro de Ener-o, de improviso vino el rio muy alto y ftierte ; 

Marte." The adjective " desbarados," however, sufficiently proves this 
reading to be incorrect. It would seem that Cokiuibus meant the op- 
position of Saturn with the Sun. 


the river suddenly rose witli great violence to a considerable 
heiglit, breaking my cables and the supports^ to which they 
were fastened^ and nearly carrying away my ships altogether, 
which certainly appeared to me to be in greater danger than 
ever. Our Lord, however, brought a remedy as He has 
always done. I do not know if any one else ever suffered 
greater trials. 

On the sixth of February, while it was still raining, I sent 
seventy men on shore to go into the interior, and, at five 
leagues^ distance they found several mines. The Indians who 
went with them, conducted them to a very lofty mountain, 
and thence showing them the country all round, as far as the 
eye could reach, told them there was gold in every part, and 
that, towards the west, the mines extended twenty days^ 
journey; they also recounted the names of the towns and 
villages where there was more or less of it. I afterwards 
learned that the cacique Quibian, who had lent these Indians, 
had ordered them to show the distant mines, and which be- 
longed to an enemy of his ; but that in his own territory. 

quebróme las amarras y proeses, y hubo de llevar los navios, y 
cierto los vi en mayor peligro que nunca. Remedió nuestro 
Señor, como siempre hizo. No sé si hubo otro con mas mar- 

A seis de Febrero, lloviendo, invié setenta hombres la tierra 
adentro ; y á las cinco leguas fallaron muchas minas : los Indios 
que iban con ellos los llevaron á un cerro muy alto, y de allí les 
mostraron hacia toda parte cuanto los ojos alcanzaban, diciendo 
que en toda parte habia oro, y que hacia el Poniente llegaban las 
minas veinte jornadas, y nombraban las villas y lugares, y adonde 
habia de ello mas ó menos. Después supe yo que el Quibian que 
habia dado estos Indios, les habia mandado que fuesen á mostrar 
las minas lejos y de otro su contrario ; y que adentro de su pueblo 
cogian, cuando el quería, un hombre en diez dias una mozada de 

' The word proeses or j^roizes, answers to our English word bollards 
— or the posts to which cables are fastened. 


one man might, if lie would, collect in ten days as mucli as 
a child could carry. I bring with me some Indians, his ser- 
vants, who can bear witness to this fact. The boats went 
up to the spot where the dwellings of these people are 
situated; and, after four hours, my brother returned with 
the guides, all of them bringing back gold which they had 
collected at that place. The gold must therefore be abundant, 
and of good quality, for none of these men had ever seen 
mines before ; very many of them had never seen pure gold, 
and most of them were seamen and lads. Having building 
materials in abundance, I established a settlement, and made 
many presents to Quibian, which is the name they gave to 
the lord of the country. I plainly saw that harmony would 
not last long, for the natives are of a very rough disposition, 
and the Spaniards very encroaching ; and, moreover, I had 
taken possession of land belonging to Quibian. When he 
saw what we did, and found the traffic increasing, he resolved 
upon burning the houses, and putting us all to death ; but 
his project did not succeed, for we took him prisoner, to- 
gether with his wives, his children, and his servants. His 
captivity, it is true, lasted but a short time, for he eluded the 

oro : los indios sus criados y testigos de esto traigo conmigo. 
Adonde él tiene el pueblo llegan las barcas. Volvió mi hermano 
con esa gente, y todos con oro que habían cogido en cuatro horas 
qué fué allá á la estada. La calidad es grande, porque ninguno de 
estos jamas habia visto minas, y los mas oro. Los mas eran gente 
de la mar, y casi todos grumetes. Yo tenia mucho aparejo para 
edificar y muchos bastimentos. Asenté pueblo, y di muchas 
dádivas al Quibian, que así llaman al Señor de la tierra ; y bien 
sabia que no habia de durar la concordia : ellos muy rústicos y 
nuestra gente muy importunos, y me aposesionaba en su término : 
después que él vido las cosas fechas y el tráfago tan vivo acordó 
de las quemar y matarnos á todos : muy al revés salió su 
propósito : quedó preso él, mugeres y fijos y criados ; bien que 
su prisión duró poco : el Quibian se fnyo á un hombre honrado, á 


custody of a trustwortliy man, into wliose charge he had 
been given, with a guard of men ; and his sons escaped from 
a ship, in which they had been placed under the special 
charge of the master. 

In the month of January the mouth of the river was en- 
tirely closed up, and in April the vessels were so eaten with 
the teredo, that they could scarcely be kept above water. 
At this time the river forced a channel for itself, by which I 
managed, with great difficulty, to extricate three of them 
after I had unloaded them. The boats were then sent back 
into the river for water and salt, but the sea became so high 
and furious, that it afforded them no chance of exit; upon 
which the Indians collected themselves together in great 
numbers, and made an attack upon the boats, and at length 
massacred the men. My brother, and all the rest of our 
people, were in a ship which remained inside ; I was alone, 
outside, upon that dangerous coast, suffering from a severe 
fever and worn with fatigue. All hope of escape was gone. 
I toiled up to the highest part of the ship, and, with a 
quivering voice and fast-falling tears, I called upon your 
Highnesses^ war-captains from each point of the compass to 
come to my succour, but there was no reply. At length, 

quien se habia entregado con guarda de hombres ; é los hijos 
se fueron á un Maestre de navio, a quien se dieron en él á buen 

En Enero se había cerrado la boca del rio. En Abril los navios 
estaban todos comidos de broma, y no los podía sostener sobre 
agua. En este tiempo hizo el rio una cana!, por donde saqué tres 
dellos vacíos con gran pena. Las barcas vols^íeron adentro por la 
sal y agua. La mar se puso alta y fea, y no les dejó salir fuera : 
los Indios fueron muchos y juntos y las combatieron, y en fin los 
mataron. Mi hermano y la otra gente toda estaban en un navio 
que quedo adentro : yo muy solo de fuera en tau brava costa, con 
fuerte fiebre, en tanta fatiga : la esperanza de escapar era muerta : 
subí así trabajando lo mas alto, llamando á voz temerosa, llorando 
y muy aprisa, los maestros de la guerra de vuestras Altezas, á to- 


groaning with exhaustion, I fell asleep^ and heard a com- 
passionate voice addi'ess me thus : — " fool;, and slow to 
believe and to serve thy God, the God of all ! what did He 
do more for Moses, or for David his servant, than He has 
done for thee ? From thine infancy He has kept thee binder 
His constant and ivatchful care. When He saw thee arrived 
at an age which suited His designs respecting thee, He 
brought wonderful renown to thy name throughout all the 
land. He gave thee for thine own the Indies, which fonn so 
rich a portion of the luorld, and thou hast divided them as 
it pleased tliee, for He gave thee power to do so. He gave 
thee also the heys of those barriers of the ocean sea which 
vjere closed with such mighty chains ; and thou wast obeyed 
through many lands, and gained an honourable fame through- 
out Christendom. What did the Most High do for tlie 
people of Israel, wlien He brought thein out of Egypt ? or 
for David, luhom from a shepherd He inade to be Idng in 
Judcea ? Turn to Him, and acknowledge thine error — His 
mercy is infinite. Thine old age shall not prevent thee from 
accomplishing any great undertaking . He holds under His 
sway tlie greatest possessions. Abraham had exceeded a 

dos cuatro los vientos, por socorro ; mas nunca me respondieron. 
Cansado, me dormecí gimiendo : nna voz muy piadosa oí, diciendo : 
" / O estulto y tardo á creer y servir á tu Dios, Dios de todos ! ¿ Que 
hizo él mas por Moysés ó for David su siervo ? Desque nasciste, 
siempre él tuvo de tí viuy grande cargo. Guando te vido en edad 
de que él fue contento, maravillosamente hizo sonar tu nombre en la 
tierra. Las Indias, que son parte del mundo tan ricas, te las dio 
por tuyas : tu las repartiste adonde te plugo, y te dio poder para 
ello. De los atamientos de la onar océana, que estaban cerrados con 
cadenas tan foiertes, te dio las llaves ; y fuiste obedescido en tantas 
tierras, y de los cristianos cobraste tan honrada fama. ¿ Qué hizo el 
mas A Ito \j)or eZ] pueblo de Israel citando le sacó de Egipto ? ¿ Ni por 
David, que de pastor hizo Bey en Jadea ? Tórnate co el, y conoce ya 
tu yerro : su misericordia es infinita : tu vejez no impedirá á toda 
cosa grande: muchas heredades tiene él grandísimas. Abr alian 


hundred years of age when he begat Isaac; nor was Sarah 
young. Thou crlest out for uncertain help : answer, who 
has afflicted thee so much and so often, God or the world ? 
The privileges promised by Ood, He never fails in bestowing ; 
nor does He ever declare, after a service has been rendered 
Him, that such was not agreeable with His intention, or that 
He had regarded the matter in another light; nor does He 
inflict suffering, in order to malee a show of His poiver. His 
acts answer to His words ; and He performs all His promises 
with interest. Is this the usual course ? Thus I have told 
you lohat the Creator has done for thee, and what He does 
for all men. Even now He partially shows thee the reward 
of so many toils and dangers incurred hy thee in the service 
of others." 

I heard all this^ as it were, in a trance ; but I had no 
answer to give in definite words, and could but weep for my 
errors. He who spoke to me, whoever he was, concluded by 
saying, — '' Fear not, hut trust; all these trihidations are re- 
corded on marhle, and not without cause." I arose as soon 
as I could ; and at the end of nine days there came fine 

pasaba de cien años cuando engendró á Isaac, ¿ ni Sara era moza ? 
Tú llamas por socorro incierto : responde, ¿ quién te ha afligido tanto 
y tantas veces, Dios 6 el mundo ? los privilegios y promesas que dá 
Dios, no las quebranta, ni dice después de haber recibido el servicio, 
que su intención no era este, y que se entiende de aira manera, ni dá 
martirios por dar color á la fuerza : él vá al pie de la letra : todo lo 
que él promete cumple con acrescentamiento : ¿ esto es tiso ? Dicho 
tengo lo que tu Criador ha, fecho por ti y hace con todos. Ahora 
medio muestra el galardón áe estos afanes y peligros que has pasado 
sirviendo d otros.'" 

Yo así amortecido oí todo ; mas no tuve yo respuesta á palabras 
tan ciertas, salvo llorar por mis yerros. Acabó él de fablar, quien 
quiera que fuese, diciendo: "No temías, confia: todas estas tribu- 
laciones están escritas en piedra mármol, y no sin causa." 

Levánteme cuando pude : y al cabo de nueve dias hizo bonanza, 


weather^ but not sufficiently so to allow of drawing the 
vessels out of the river. I collected the men who were on 
land, and, in fact, all of them that I could, because there 
were not enough, to admit of one party remaining on shore 
while another stayed on board to work the vessels. I myself 
should have remained with my men to defend the buildings 
I had constructed, had your Highnesses been cognizant of 
all the facts ; but the doubt whether any ships would ever 
reach the spot where we were, as well as the thought, that 
Avhile I was asking for succour I might bring succour to my- 
self, made me decide upon leaving. I departed, in the name 
of the Holy Trinity, on Easter night, with the ships rotten, 
worm-eaten, and full of holes. One of them I left at Belem, 
with a supply of necessaries ; I did the same at Belpuerto. 
I then had only two left, and they in the same state as the 
others. I was without boats or provisions, and in this con- 
dition I had to cross seven thousand miles of sea ; or, as an 
alternative, to die on the passage with my son, my brother, 
and so many of my people. Let those who are in the habit 
of finding fault and censuring, ask, while they sit in secui-ity 
at home, " Why did you not do so and so under such cir- 
cumstances?" I wish they now had this voyage to make. 

mas no para sacar navios del rio. Recogí la gente que estaba en 
tierra, y todo el resto que puede, porque no bastaban para quedar 
y para navegar los navios. Quedara yo á sostener el pueblo con- 
todos, si vuestras Altezas supieran de ello. El temor que nunca 
aportarían allí navios me determinó á esto, y la cuenta que cuando 
se haya de proveer de socorro se proveerá de todo. Partí en nom- 
bre de la Santísima Trinidad, la noche de Pascua, con los navios 
podridos, abrumados, todos fechos agujeros. Allí en Belén dejé 
uno, y hartas cosas. En Belpuerto hice otro tanto. Ko me que- 
daron salvo dos en el estado de los otros, y sin barcas y bastimentos, 
por haber de pasar siete mil millas de mar y de agua, ó morir en 
la via con fijo y hermano y tanta gente. Respondan ahora los que 
suelen tachar y reprender, diciendo allá de en salvo : (i por qué no 
haciades esto allí ? Los quisiera yo en esta jornada. Yo bien 


I verilj beKeve that another journey of another kind awaits 
them, if there is any rehance to be placed upon our holy 

On the thirteenth of May I reached the province of Mago/ 
which is contiguous to that of Cathay, and thence I started 
for the island of Española. I sailed two days with a good 
wind, after which it became contrary. The route that I fol- 
lowed called forth all my care to avoid the numerous islands, 
that I might not be stranded on the shoals that lie in their 
neighbourhood. The sea was very tempestuous, and I was 
driven backward under bare poles. 1 anchored at an island, 
where I lost, at one stroke, three anchors ; and, at midnight, 
when the weather was such that the world appeared to be 
coming to an end, the cables of the other ship broke, and 
it came down upon my vessel with such force that it was a 
wonder we were not dashed to pieces ; the single anchor 
that remained to me, was, next to the Lord, our only pre- 
servation. After six days, when the weather became calm, 
I resumed my journey having already lost all my tackle ; my 
ships were pierced with worm-holes, like a bee-hive, and the 

creo que otra de otro saber los aguarda : á nuestra fe es ninguna. 
Llegué á trece de Mayo en la provincia de Mago, que parte con 
aquella del Catayo, y de allí partí para la Española : navegué dos 
dias con buen tiempo, y después fue contrario. El camino que yo 
llevaba era para desechar tanto número de islas, por no me emba- 
razar en los bajos de ellas. La mar brava me hizo fuerza, y hube 
volver atrás sin velas : surgí á una isla adonde de golpe perdí tres 
anclas, y á la media noche, que parecía que el mundo se ensolvía, 
se rompieron las amarras al otro navio, y vino sobi^e mí, que fue 
maravilla como no nos acabamos de se hacer rajas : el ancla, de 
forma que me quedó, fue ella después de nuestro Señor, quien me 
sostuvo. Al cabo de seis dias que ya era bonanza, volví á mi ca- 
mino : asi ya perdido del todo de aparejos y con los navios hora- 

1 Columbus, who now fancies himself in China, by this word "Mago," 
means Mangi, the name given by Marco Polo, whose travels he had 
read, to Southern China, while Northern China was Cathay. 


crew entirely paralysed with fear and in despair. I readied 
the island a little beyond the point at which I first arrived 
at it, and there I stayed to recover myself from the effects 
of the storm ; but I afterwards put into a much safer port 
in the same island. After eight days I put to sea again, and 
reached Jamaica by the end of June ; but always beating 
against contrary winds, and with the ships in the worst pos- 
sible condition. With three pumps, and the use of pots and 
kettles, we could scarcely with all hands clear the water that 
came into the ship, there being no remedy but this for the 
mischief done by the ship- worm. I steered in such a manner 
as to come as near as possible to Española, from which we 
were twenty- eight leagues distant, but I afterwards wished 
I had not done so, for the other ship which was half under 
water was obliged to run in for a port. I determined on 
keeping the sea in spite of the weather, and my vessel was 
on the very point of sinking when our Lord miraculously 
brought us upon land. Who will believe what I now write ? 
I assert that in this letter I have not related one hundredth 
part of the wonderful events that occurred in this voyage ; 
those who were with the Admii-aP can bear witness to it. 

dados de gusanos mas que un panal de abejas, y la gente tan acobar- 
dada y perdida, pasé algo adelante de donde yo había llegado de- 
nantes : allí me torné á reposar atrás la fortuna : paré en la misma 
isla en mas seguro puerto : al cabo de ocho días torné á la vía y 
llegué á Jamaica en fin de Junio siempre con vientos punteros, y 
los navios en peor estado : con tres bombas, tinas y calderas no 
podían con toda la gente vencer el agua que entraba en el navio, 
ni para este mal de broma hay otra cura. Cometíel camino 
para me acercar á lo mas cercar de la Española, que son veinte 
y ocho leguas, y no quisiera haber comenzado. El otro navio 
corrió á buscar puerto casi anegado. Yo porfié la vuelta de 
la mar con tormenta. El navio se me anegó, que milagrosamente 
me trujo nuestro Señor á tierra. ¿ Quién creyera lo que yo aquí 
escribo ? Digo que de cien partes no he dicho la una en esta letra. 
' üf course he here speaks of himself. 



If your Highnesses would be graciously pleased to send to 
my help a ship of above sixty-four tons^ with two hundred 
quintals of biscuits and other provisions^ there would then 
be sufficient to carry me and my crew from Española to 
Spain. I have already said that there are not twenty- eight 
leagues between Jamaica and Española ; and I should not 
have gone there^ even if the ships had been in a fit condition 
for so doing, because you.r Highnesses ordered me not to 
land there. God knows if this command has proved of any 
service. I send this letter by means of and by the hands of 
Indians ; it will be a miracle if it reaches its destination. 

This is the account I have to give of my voyage. The men 
who accompanied me were a hundred and fifty in number, 
among whom were many calculated for pilots and good 
sailors, but none of them can explain whither I went nor 
whence I came. The reason is very simple. I started from 
a point above the port of Brazil, and while I was in Española, 
the storm prevented me from following my intended rOute, 
for I was obliged to go wherever the wind drove me ; at the 
same time I fell very sick, and there was no one who had 

Los que fueron con el Almirante lo atestigüen. Si place á vues- 
tras Altezas de me hacer merced de socorro un navio que pase de 
sesenta y cuatro, con ducientos quintales de bizcocho y algún otro 
bastimento, abastará para me llevar á mí y á esta gente á España 
de la Española. En Jamaica ya dije que no hay veinte y ocho le- 
guas á la Española. No fuera yo, bien que los navios estuvieran 
para ello. Ya dije que me fue mandado de parte de vuestras Al- 
tezas que no llegase á alia. Si este mandar ha aprovechado. Dios 
lo sabe. Esta carta invio por via y mano de Indios : grande mara- 
villa será si allá llega. De mi viage digo : que fueron ciento y 
cincuenta personas conmigo, en que hay hartos suficientes para 
pilotos y grandes marineros : ninguno puede dar razón cierta por 
donde fui yo ni vine : la razón es muy presta. Yo partí de sobre 
el puerto del Brasil : en la Española no me dejó la tormenta ir al 
camino que yo quería : fue por fuerza correr adonde el viento 
quiso. En ese dia caí yo muy enfermo : ninguno había navegado 


navigated in these parts before. However, after some days, 
the wind and sea became tranquil, and the storm was suc- 
ceeded by a calm, but accompanied with rapid currents. I 
put into harbour at an island called Isla de las Bocas, and 
then steered for terra firma ; but it is impossible to give a 
correct account of all our movements, because I was carried 
away by the current so many days without seeing land. I 
ascertained, however, by the compass and by observation, 
that I moved parallel with the coast of terra firma. No one 
could tell under what part of the heavens we were, nor at 
what period I bent my course for the island of Española. 
The pilots thought we had come to the island of St. John, 
whereas it was the land of Mango, four hundred leagues to 
the westward of where they said. Let them answer and say 
if they know where Veragua is situated. I assert that they 
can give no other account than that they went to lands, 
where there was an abundance of gold, and this they can 
certify surely enough ; but they do not know the way to re- 
turn thither for such a purpose ; they would be obliged to 
go on a voyage of discovery as much as if they had never 
been there before. There is a mode of reckoning derived 

hacia aquella parte : cesó el viento y mar dende á ciertos días, y se 
mudó la tormenta en calmería y grandes corrientes. Fui á aportar 
á una isla que se dijo de las Bocas, y de allí a Tierra firme. Nin- 
guno puede dar cuenta verdadera de esto, porque no hay razón 
que abaste ; porque fue ir con corriente sin ver tierra tanto número 
de días. Seguí la costa de la Tieri*a firme : esta se asentó con com- 
pás y arte. Ninguno hay que diga debajo cuál parte del cielo 6 
cuándo yo partí de ella para venir á la Española. Los pilotos creían 
venir á parar á la isla de Sauct- Joan ; y fue en tierra de Mango, 
cuatrocientas leguas mas al Poniente de adonde decían. Re- 
spondan, si saben, adonde es el sitio de Veragua. Digo que no 
pueden dar otra razón ni cuenta, salvo que fueron á unas tierras 
adonde hay mucho oro, y certificarle ; mas para volver á ella el 
camino tienen ignoto : seria necesario para ir á ella descubrirla 
como de primero. Una cuenta hay y razou de astrología y cierta : 


from astronomy which is sure and safe, and a sufficient guide 
to anyone who understands it. This resembles a prophetic 
vision. The Indian vessels do not sail except with the wind 
abaft, but this is not because they are badly built or clumsy, 
but because the strong currents in those parts, together with 
the wind, render it impossible to sail with the bowline,^ for 
in one day they would lose as much way as they might have 
made in seven ; for the same reason I could make no use of 
caravels, even though they were Portuguese latteens. This 
is the cause that they do not sail unless with a regular 
breeze, and they will sometimes stay in harbour waiting for 
this seven or eight months at a time ; nor is this anything 
wonderful, for the same very often occurs in Spain. The 
nation of which Pope Pius writes" has now been found. 

quien la entiende esto le abasta. A vision proféfcica se asemeja 
esto. Las naos de las Indias, si no navegan salvo á popa, no es 
por la mala fechura, ni por ser fuertes ; las grandes corrientes que 
allí vienen ; juntamente con el viento hacen que nadie porfié con 
bolina, porque en un dia perderían lo que hubiesen ganado en 
siete ; ni saco carabela aunque sea latina portuguesa. Esta razón 
hace que no naveguen, salvo con colla, y por esperarle se detienen 
á las veces seis y ocho meses en puerto ; ni es maravilla, pues que 
en España muchas veces acaece otro tanto. La gente de que 
escribe Papa Pió, según el sitio y señas, se ha hallado, mas no los 

1 Bow-lines are ropes employed to keep the windward edges of the 
principal sails steady, and are only used when the wind is so unfavour- 
able that the sails must be all braced sideways, or close hauled to the 

- In this remarkable notion, Columbus refers to a work of the learned 
iEneas Sylvius Piccolomini, entitled Cosmographia Pape Pii^ printed 
in Venice in 1503. It is not paginated, but if the reader will count to 
the nineteenth and twentieth pages he will find the following passages : 

"Post Sacas ad septentrionem Messagetse reperiuntur : Fseda gens 

et brutis simillima apud quam genus mortis optimum judicabatur ut 
senio confecti in frusta coederentur et cum carnibus ovilis promiscué 
ederentur : eos qui morbo decederent ut impios abjicientes tamque dignos 
qui a feris devorarentur. Equites ac pedites inter eos optimi fuere 


judging at least by the situation and other evidences^ ex- 
cepting the horses with the saddles and poitrels and bridles 
of gold ; but this is not to be wondered at, for the lands on 
the sea-coast are only inhabited by fishermen, and moreover 
I made no stay there, because I was in haste to proceed on 
my voyage. In Cai-iay and the neighbouring country there 
are great enchanters of a very fearful character. They 
would have given the world to prevent my remaining there 
an hour. When I arrived they sent me immediately two 
girls very showily dressed; the eldest could not be more 
than eleven years of age and the other seven, and both ex- 
hibited so much immodesty, that more could not be expected 
from public women ; they carried concealed about them a 
magic powder ; when they came I gave them some articles 
to dress themselves out with, and directly sent them back 
to the shore. I saw here, built on a mountain, a sepulchre 
as large as a house, and elaborately sculptured, the body lay 

caballos, pretales y frenos de oro, ni es maravilla, porque allí las 
tierras de la costa de la mar no reuieren, salvo pescadores, ni yo 
me detuve porque andaba á prisa. En Cariay y en essas tierras do 
su comarca, son grandes fechiceros y muy medrosos. Dieran el 
mundo porque no me detuviera allí una hora. Cuando llegué allí 
luego me inviaron dos muchachas muy ataviadas : la mas vieja no 
seria de once años y la otra de siete ; ambas con tanta desenvoltura 
que no serian mas unas putas : traían polvos de hechizos escondi- 
dos : en llegando las mandé adornar de nuestras cosas y las invié 
luego á tierra : allí vide una sej)ultura en el monte, grande como 

arcu ; gladio ; thorace ; ac securi seneá utentes ; áureas zonas ; áurea 
equorum frena ac pectoralia habentes. Ferri parum apud eos fuit : 
argento carebaut ; sere et auro abundabant : insularum cultores herbarum 
radices edebant, et agrestes fructus: ex quibus pocula exprimebaut. 
Vestís erat arborum cortex : qui paludes inhabitabant piscibus vesce- 
bantur : focarum coria e mari prodeuntiuin induebant," etc. From 
Hei'odotus we gather an accurate idea of the situation of the Massagetae, 
viz., in the immense plain to the east of the Caspian and on the east 
bank of the Jaxaretes. Strabo corroborates the account of Herodotus 
as to the repulsive habits of these old IMougolians. 


uncovered and witli tlie face downwards ; they also spoke to 
me of other very excellent works of art. There are many 
species of animals both small and large, and very differ- 
ent from those of our country. I had at the time two 
boars, that an Irish dog would not dare to face. An 
archer had wounded an animal like an ape, except that it 
was larger, and had a face like a man's ; the arrow had 
pierced it from the neck to the tail, which made it so fierce 
that they were obliged to disable it by cutting off one of its 
arms and a leg ; one of the boars grew wild on seeing this 
and fled ; upon which I ordered the hegare (as the inhabi- 
tants called him) to be thrown to the boar, and though the 
animal was nearly dead, and the arrow had passed quite 
through his body, yet he threw his tail round the snout of 
the boar, and then holding him firmly, seized him by the 
nape of the neck with his remaining hand, as if he were 
engaged with an enemy. This action was so novel and so 
extraordinary, that I have thought it worth while to describe 
it here. There is a great variety of animals here, but they 
all die of the barra.^ I saw some very large fowls (the 

una casa y labrada, y el cuerpo descubierto y mirando en ella. De 
otras artes me dijeron y mas excelentes. Animalias menudas y 
grandes hay hartas y muy diversas de las nuestras. Dos puercos 
hube yo en presente, y un perro de Irlanda no osaba esperarlos. 
Un ballestero habia herido una animalia, que se parece á gato paúl, 
salvo que es mucho mas grande, y el rostro de hombre : teníale 
atravesado con una saeta desde los pechos á la cola, y porque era 
feroz le hubo de cortar un brazo y una pierna : el puerco en vién- 
dole se le encrespó y se fue huyendo : yo cuando esto vi mandé 
echarle hegare, que así se llama adonde estaba : en llegando á él, 
así estando á la muerte y la saeta siempre en el cuerpo, le echó la 
cola por el hocico y se la amarró muy fuerte, y con la mano que le 
quedaba le arrebató por el copete como á enemigo. El auto tan 
nuevo y hermosa montería me hizo escribir esto. De muchas ma- 
neras de animaHas se hubo, mas todas mueren de barra. Gallinas 
' This is a malady undefined in any dictionary. 


feathers of which resemble wool), lions, stags, fallow-deer, 
and birds. 

When we were so harassed with our troubles at sea, some 
of our men imagined that we were under the influence of 
sorcery, and even to this day entertain the same notion. 
Some of the people whom I discovered were cannibals, as was 
evidenced by the brutality of their countenances. They say 
that there are great mines of copper in the country, of which 
they make hatchets and other elaborate articles, both cast 
and soldered j they also make of it forges, with all the appa- 
ratus of the goldsmith, and crucibles. The inhabitants go 
clothed ; and in that province I saw some large sheets of 
cotton very elaborately and cleverly worked, and others very 
delicately pencilled in colours. They told me that more inland 
towards Cathay they have them interwoven with gold. For 
want of an interpreter we were able to learn but very little re- 
specting these countries, or what they contain. Although the 
country is very thickly peopled, yet each nation has a very 
different language ; indeed so much so, that they can no 
more understand each other than we understand the Arabs. 

muy grandes y la pluma como lana vide hartas. Leones, ciervos, 
corzos otro tanto, y así aves. 

Cuando yo andaba por aquella mar en fatiga en algunos se puso 
heregía que estábamos enfecliizados, que hoy día están en ello. 
Otra gente fallé que comían hombres : la desformídad de su gesto 
lo dice. Allí dicen qué hay grandes mineros de cobre : hachas 
de ello, otras cosas labradas, fundidas, soladas hube, y fraguas con 
todo su aparejo de platero y los crisoles. Allí van vestidos; y en 
aquella provincia vide sábanas grandes de algodón, labradas de 
muy sotiles labores ; otras pintadas muy sutilmente á colores con 
pinceles. Dicen que en la tierra adentro hacia el Catayo las hay 
tejidas de oro. De todas estas tierras y de lo que hay en ellas, 
falta de lengua, no se saben tan presto. Los pueblos, bien que 
sean espesos, cada uno tiene diferenciada lengua, y es en tanto 
que no se entienden los unos con los otros, mas que nos con los 
de Arabia. Yo creo que esto sea en esta gente salvage de la costa 


I thinkj however, that this applies to the barbarians on the 
sea-coast, and not to the people who live more inland. When 
I discovered the Indies, I said that they composed the richest 
lordship in the world; I spoke of gold and pearls and precious 
stones, of spices, and the traffic that might be carried on in 
them ; and because all these things were not forthcoming at 
once I was abused. This punishment causes me to refrain 
from relating anything but what the natives tell me. One 
thing I can venture upon stating, because there are so many 
witnesses of it, viz., that in this land of Veragua I saw more 
signs of gold in the two first days than I saw in Española 
during four years, and that there is not a more fertile or 
better cultivated country in all the world, nor one whose in- 
habitants are more timid ; added to which there is a good har- 
bour, a beautiful river, and the whole place is capable of 
being easily put into a state of defence. All this tends to 
the security of the Christians, and the permanency of their 
sovereignty, while it affords the hope of great increase and 
honour to the Christian religion ; moreover the road hither 
will be as short as that to Española, because there is a cer- 
tainty of a fair wind for the passage. Your Highnesses are 

de la mar, mas no en la tierra dentro. Cuando yo descubrí las 
Indias dije que eran el maj^or señorío rico que hay en el mundo. 
Yo dije del oro, perlas, piedras preciosas, especerías, con los tratos 
y ferias, y porque no pareció todo tan presto fui escandalizado. 
Este castigo me hace agora que no diga salvo lo que yo oigo de 
los naturales de la tierra. De una oso decir, porque hay tantos 
testigos, y es que yo vide en esta tierra de Veragua mayor señal 
de oro en dos días primeros que en la Española en cuatro años, 
y que las tierras de la comarca no pueden ser mas fermosas, ni 
mas labradas, ni la gente mas cobarde, y buen puerto, y fermoso 
rio, y defensible al mundo. Todo esto es seguridad de los cristi- 
anos y certeza de señorío, con grande esperanza de la honra y 
acrescentamiento de la religion cristiana ; y el camino, allí será 
tan breve como á la Española, porque ha de ser con viento. Tan 
señores son vuestras Altezas de esto como de Jerez ó Toledo : sus 


as much lords of this country as of Xeres or Toledo, and your 
ships that may come here will do so with the same freedom 
as if they were going to your own royal palace. From 
hence they will obtain gold, and whereas if they should wish 
to become masters of the products of other lands, they will 
have to take them by force, or retire empty-handed, in this 
country they will simply have to trust their persons in the 
hands of a savage. 

I have already explained my reason for refraining to treat 
of other subjects respecting which I might speak. I do not 
state as certain, nor do I confirm even the sixth part of all 
that I have said or written, nor do I pretend to be at the 
fountain-head of the information. The Genoese, Venetians, 
and all other nations that possess pearls, precious stones, and 
other articles of value, take them to the ends of the world to 
exchange them for gold. Gold is the most precious of all 
commodities; gold constitutes treasure, and he who possesses 
it has all he needs in this world, as also the means of rescuing 
souls from purgatory, and restoring them to the enjoyment 
of paradise. They say that when one of the lords of the 
country of Veragua dies, they bury all the gold he possessed 
with his body. There were brought to Solomon at one jour- 

uavios que fueren allí van á su casa. De allí sacarán oro : en otras 
tierras, para haber de lo que hay en ellas, conviene que se lo 
lleven, ó se volverán vacíos ; y en la tierra es necesario que fien 
sus personas de un salvage. Del otro que yo dejo de decir, ya 
dije por qué me encerré : no digo así, ni que yo me afirme en el 
tres doble en todo lo que yo haya jamas dicho ni escrito, y que yo 
esto á la fuente. Genoveses, Venecianos y toda gente que tenga 
perlas, piedras preciosas y otras cosas de valor, todos las llevan 
hasta el cabo del mundo para las trocar, convertir en oro : el oro 
es excelentísimo : del oro se hace tesoro, y con él, quien lo tiene, 
hace cuanto quiere en el mundo, y llega á que echa las animas al 
paraíso. Los señores de aquellas tierras de la comarca Veragua 
cuando mueren entierran el oro que tienen con el cuerpo, así lo 
dicen : á Salomon llevaron de un camino seiscientos y sesenta y 


ney six hundred and sixty-six quintals of gold, besides what 
the merchants and sailors brought_, and that which was paid 
in Arabia. Of this gold he made two hundred lances and three 
hundred shields, and the entablature which was above them 
was also of gold, and ornamented with precious stones : many 
other things he made likewise of gold, and a great number of 
vessels of great size, which he enriched with precious stones. 
This is related by Josephus in his Chronicle " de Antiquita- 
tibus^^ ; mention is also made of it in the Chronicles and in 
the Book of Kings. Josephus thinks that this gold was found 
in the Aurea ; if it were so, I contend that these mines of 
the Aurea are identical with those of Yeragua, which, as I 
have said before, extends westward twenty days' journey, at 
an equal distance from the Pole and the Line. Solomon 
bought all of it, — gold, precious stones, and silver, — but your 
Majesties need only send to seek them to have them at your 
pleasure. David, in his will, left three thousand quintals of 
Indian gold to Solomon, to assist in building the Temple ; 
and, according to Josephus, it came from these lands. Jeru- 
salem and Mount Sion are to be rebuilt by the hands of 

seis quintales de oro, allende lo que llevaron los mercaderes y 
marineros, y allende lo que se pagó en Arabia. De este oro fizo 
doscientas lanzas y trescientos escudos, y fizo el tablado que habia 
de estar arriba dellas de oro y adornado de piedras preciosas, y fizo 
otras muchas cosas de oro, y vasos muchos y muy grandes y ricos 
de piedras preciosas. Josefo en su corónica de Antiquitatibus lo 
escribe. En el Paralipomenon y en el libro de los Pieyes se cuenta 
de esto. Josefo quiere que este oro se hobiese en la Aurea : si 
así fuese digo que aquellas minas de la Aurea son unas y se con- 
vienen con estas de Veragua, que como yo dije arriba se alarga ai 
Poniente veinte jornadas, y son en una distancia lejos del polo y 
de la línea. Salomon compró todo aquello, oro, piedras y plata, c 
allí le pueden mandar á coger si les aplace. David en su testa- 
mento dejó tres mil quintales de oro de las Indias á Salomon para 
ayuda de edificar el templo, y según Josefo era el destas mismas 
tierras. Hierusalem y el monte Sion ha de ser reedificado por 


Christians^ as God lias declared by the mouth of His prophet 
in the fourteenth Psalm. The Abbé Joaquina said that he 
who should do this was to come from Spain ; Saint Jerome 
showed the holy woman the way to accomplish it ; and the 
emperor of Cathay has^ some time since^ sent for wise men to 
instruct him in the faith of Christ. Who will offer himself 
for this work ? Should any one do so, I pledge myself, in 
the name of God, to convey him safely thither, provided the 
Lord permits me to return to Spain. The people who have 
sailed with me have passed through incredible toil and danger, 
and I beseech your Highnesses, since they are poor, to pay 
them promptly, and to be gracious to each of them according 
to their respective merits ; for I can safely assert, that to my 
belief they are the bearers of the best news that ever were 
carried to Spain. With respect to the gold which belongs to 
Quibian, the cacique of Veragua, and other chiefs in the 
neighbouring country, although it appears by the accounts 
we have received of it to be very abundant, I do not think it 
would be well or desirable, on the part of your Highnesses, 
to take possession of it in the way of plunder; by fair dealing, 
scandal and disrepute will be avoided, and all the gold will 

mano de cristianos : quien ha de ser, Dios por boca del Profeta en 
el décimo cuarto salmo lo dice. El Abad Joaquin dijo que este 
habia de salir de España. San Gerónimo á la santa muger le 
mostró el camino para ello. El Emperador del Catayo ha dias que 
mandó sabios que le enseñen en la fé de Cristo. ¿ Quién será que 
se ofrezca á esto ? Si nuestro Señor me lleva á España, yo me 
obligo de llevarle, con el nombre de Dios, en salvo. Esta gente 
que vino conmigo han pasado increibles peligros y trabajos. Su- 
plico á V. A., porque son pobres, que les mande pagar luego, y 
les haga mercedes á cada uno según la calidad de la persona, que 
les certifico que á mi creer les traen las mejores nuevas que nunca 
fueron á España. El oro que tiene el Quibian de Veragua y los 
otros de la comarca, bien que según información él sea mucho, no 
me paresció bien ni servicio de vuestras Altezas de se le tomar 
por via de robo : lo buena orden evitará escándalo y mala fama, 


tlius reach your Higlmesses' treasuiy without the loss of a 
grain. With one month of fair weather I shall complete my 
voyage. As I was deficient in ships, I did not persist in de- 
laying my course ; but in everything that concerns your 
Highnesses^ service, I trust in Him who made me, and I hope 
also that my health will be re-established. I think your 
Highnesses will remember that I had intended to build some 
ships in a new manner, but the shortness of the time did not 
permit it. I had certainly foreseen how things would be. I 
think more of this opening for commerce, and of the lordship 
over such extensive mines, than of all that has been done in 
the Indies. This is not a child to be left to the care of a 

I never think of Española, and Paria, and the other coun- 
tries, without shedding tears. I thought that what had oc- 
curred there would have been an example for others ; on 
the contrary, these settlements are now in a languid state, 
although not dead, and the malady is incurable, or at least 
very extensive : let him who brought the evil come now and 
cure it, if he knows the remedy, or how to apply it ; but 
when a disturbance is on foot, eveiy one is ready to take 

y hará que todo ello venga al tesoro, que no quede un grano. Con 
un mes de buen tiempo jo acabara todo mi viage : por falta de 
los navios no porfié á esperarle para tornar á ello, y para toda cosa 
de su servicio espero en aquel que me hizo, y estaré bueno. Yo 
creo que V. A. se acordará que yo quería mandar hacer los navios 
de nueva manera : la brevedad del tiempo no dio lugar á ello, y 
cierto yo habió caído en lo que cumplía. Yo tengo en mas esta 
negociación y minas con esta escala y señorío, que todo lo otro 
que está hecho en las Indias. No es este hijo para dar á criar á 
madrastra. De la Española, de Paría y de las otras tierras no me 
acuerdo de ellas, que yo no llore : creía yo que el ejemplo dellas 
hobíese de ser por estotras al contrario : ellas están boca á yuso, 
bien que no mueren : la enfermedad es incurable, ó muy larga : 
quien las llegó á esto venga agora con el remedio si puede ó sabe : 
al descomponer cada uno es maestro. Las gracias y acrescenta- 


the lead. It used to be the custom to give thanks and pro- 
motion to him who placed his person in jeopardy ; but there 
is no justice in allowing the man who opposed this under- 
dertaking, to enjoy the fruits of it with his children. Those 
who left the Indies^ avoiding the toils consequent upon the 
enterprise^ and speaking evil of it and me^ have since re- 
turned with official appointments^ — such is the case now in 
Veragua : it is an evil example, and profitless both as re- 
gards the business in which we are embarked, and as re- 
spects the general maintenance of justice. The fear of this, 
with other sufficient considerations, which I clearly foresaw, 
caused me to beg your Highnesses, previously to my coming 
to discover these islands and terra firma, to grant me per- 
mission to govern in your royal name. Your Highnesses 
granted my request ; and it was a privilege and treaty 
granted under the royal seal and oath, by which I was no- 
minated viceroy, and admiral, and governor-general of all : 
and your Highnesses limited the extent of my government 
to a hundred leagues beyond the Azores and Cape Verde 
islands, by a line passing from one pole to the other, and 
gave me ample power over all that I might discover beyond 

miento siempre fue uso de las dar á quien puso su cuerpo á peligro. 
No es razón que quien ha sido tan contrario á esta negociación le 
goce ni sus fijos. Los que se fueron de las Indias fuyendo los 
trabajos y diciendo mal dellas y de mí, volvieron con cargos : así 
se ordenaba agora en Veragua : malo ejemplo, y sin provecho del 
negocio y para la justicia del mundo : este temor con otros casos 
hartos que yo veia claro, me hizo suplicar á V. A. antes que yo 
viniese á descubrir esas islas y tierra firme, que me las dejasen 
gobernar en su Real nombre : plúgoles : fue por privilegio y 
asiento, y con sello y juramento, y me intitularon de Viso-Rey y 
Almirante y Gobernador general de todo ; y aseñalaron el término 
sobre las islas de los Azores cien leguas, y aquellas del Cabo Verde 
por línea que pasa de polo á polo, y desto y de todo qne mas se 
descubriese, y me dieron poder largo : la escritura á mas larga- 


this line ; all which is more fully described in the official 

But the most important affair of all^ and that which cries 
most loudly for redress, remains inexplicable to this mo- 
ment. For seven years was I at your royal court, where 
every one to whom the enterprise was mentioned, treated it 
as ridiculous ; but now there is not a man, down to the 
very tailors, who does not beg to be allowed to become a 
discoverer. There is reason to believe, that they make the 
voyage only for plunder, and that they are permitted to do 
so, to the great disparagement of my honour, and the detri- 
ment of the undertaking itself. It is right to give God His 
due, — and to receive that which belongs to one's self. This 
is a just seiitiment, and proceeds from just feelings. The 
lands in this part of the world, which are now under your 
Highnesses' sway, are richer and more extensive than those 
of any other Christian power, and yet, after that I had, by 
the Divine will, placed them under your high and royal 
sovereignty, and was on the point of bringing your majes- 
ties into the receipt of a very great and unexpected revenue; 
and while I was waiting for ships, to convey me in safety, 
and with a heart full of joy, to your royal presence, victo- 

mente lo dice. El otro negocio famosísimo está con los brazos 
abiertos llamando : extrangero ha sido fasta ahora. Siete años 
estuve yo en su Real corte, que á cuantos se fabló de esta empresa 
todos á una dijeron que era burla : agora fasta los sastres suplican 
por descubrir. Es de creer que van á saltear, y se les otorga, que 
cobran con mucho perjuicio de mi honra y tanto daño del negocio. 
Bueno es de dar á Dios lo suyo y acetar lo que le pertenece. Esta 
es justa sentencia, y de justo. Las tierras que acá obedecen á V. 
A. son mas que todas las otras de cristianos y ricas. Después 
que yo, por voluntad divina, las hube puestas debajo de su Real 
y alto señorío, y en filo para haber grandísima renta, de improviso, 
esperando navios para venir á su alto conspecto con victoria y 
grandes nuevas del oro, muy seguro y alegre, fui preso y echado 


piously to announce the news of the gold that I had disco- 
vered, I was arrested and thrown, with my two brothers, 
loaded with irons, into a ship, stripped, and very ill-treated, 
without being allowed any appeal to justice. Who could 
believe, that a poor foreigner would have risen against your 
Highnesses, in such a place, without any motive or argu- 
ment on his side ; without even the assistance of any other 
prince upon which to rely ; but on the contrary, amongst 
your own vassals and natural subjects, and with my sons 
staying at your royal court ? I was twenty-eight years old^ 
when I came into your Highnesses' service, and now I have 
not a hair upon me that is not grey ; my body is infirm, 
and all that was left to me, as well as to my brothers, has 
been taken away and sold, even to the frock that I wore, to 
my great dishonour. I cannot but believe that this was 
done without your royal permission. The restitution of my 
honour, the reparation of my losses, and the punishment of 
those who have inflicted them, will redound to the honour 
of your royal character ; a similar punishment also is due to 

con dos hermanos en un navio, cargados de fierros, desnudo en 
cuerpo, con muy mal tratamiento, sin ser llamado ni vencido por 
justicia : ¿ quién creerá que un pobre extrangero se hobiese de 
alzar en tal lugar contra V. A. sin causa, ni sin brazo de otro 
Príncipe, y estando solo entre sus vasallos y naturales, y teniendo 
todos mis fijos en su Real corte ? Yo vine á servir de veinte y 
ocho años, y agora no tengo cabello en mi persona que no sea cano 
y el cuerpo enfermo, y gastado cuanto me quedó de aquellos, y me 
fue tomado y vendido, y á mis hermanos fasta el sayo, sin ser oido 
ni visto, con gran deshonor mió. Es de creer que esto no se hizo 
por su Real mandado. La restitución de mi honra y daños, y el 
castigo en quien lo fizo, fará sonar su Real nobleza ; y otro tanto 
en quien me robó las perlas, y de quien ha fecho daño en ese 

' This is most certainly a mistake ; probably thirty-eight was ori- 
ginally written, which, supposing Columbus to have been born in 1446-7, 
would bring the date referred to to 1484, when Columbus really did escape 
from Portugal into Spain. 



those wlio plundered me of my pearls, and who have brought 
a disparagement upon the privileges of my admiralty. Great 
and unexampled will be the glory and fame of your High- 
nesseSj if you do this, and the memory of your Highnesses, 
as just and grateful sovereigns, will survive as a bright ex- 
ample to Spain in future ages. The honest devotedness I 
have always shown to your majesties' service, and the so un- 
merited outrage with which it has been repaid, will not allow 
my soul to keep silence, however much I may wish it : I 
implore your Highnesses to forgive my complaints. I am 
indeed in as ruined a condition as I have related ; hitherto 
I have wept over others ; — may Heaven now have mercy 
upon me, and may the earth weep for me. With regard to 
temporal things, I have not even a blanca for an offering ; 
and in spiritual things, I have ceased here in the Indies 
from observing the prescribed forms of religion. Solitary 
in my trouble, sick, and in daily expectation of death, sur- 
rounded by millions of hostile savages full of cruelty, and 
thus separated from the blessed sacraments of our holy 
Church, how will my soul be forgotten if it be separated 
from the body in this foreign land ? Weep for me, whoever 

almirantado. Grandísima virtud, fama con ejemplo será si hacen 
esto, y quedará á la España gloriosa memoria con la de vuestras 
Altezas de agradecidos y justos Príncipes. La intención tan sana 
que yo siempre tuve al servicio de vuestras Altezas, y la afrenta 
tan desigual, no da lugar al anima que calle, bien que yo quiera : 
suplico á vuestras Altezas me perdonen. To estoy tan perdido 
como dije : yo he llorado fasta aquí á otros : haya misericordia 
agora el Cielo, y llore por mi la tierra. En el temporal no tengo 
solamente una blanca para el oferta : en el espiritual he parado 
aquí en las Indias de la forma que está dicho : aislado en esta 
pena, enfermo, aguardando cada dia por la muerte, y cercado de 
un cuento de salvages y llenos de crueldad y enemigos nuestros, y 
tan apartado de los Santos Sacramentos de la Santa Iglesia, que 
se olvidará desta anima si se aparta acá del cuerpo. Llore por 
mí quien tiene caridad, verdad y justicia. To no vine este viage 


has charity, truth, and justice ! I did not come out on this 
voyage to gain to myself honour or wealth ; this is a certain 
fact, for at that time all hope of such a thing was dead. I 
do not lie when I say that I went to your Highnesses with 
honest purpose of heart, and sincere zeal in your cause. I 
humbly beseech your Highnesses, that if it please God to 
rescue me from this place, you will graciously sanction my 
pilgrimage to Rome and other holy places. May the Holy 
Trinity protect your Highnesses' lives, and add to the pros- 
perity of your exalted position. 

Done in the Indies, in the island of Jamaica, on the 
seventh of July, in the year one thousand five hundred and 

á navegar por ganar honra ni hacienda : esto es cierto, porque 
estaba ya la esperanza de todo en ella muerta. Yo vine á V. A. 
con sana intención y buen zelo, y no miento. Suplico humilde- 
mente á V. A. que si á Dios place de me sacar de aquí, que haya 
por bien mi ida á Roma y otras romerías. Cuya vida y alto 
estado la Santa Trinidad guarde y acresciente. Fecha en las 
Indias en la Isla de Jamaica á siete de Julio de mil quinientos y 
tres años. 

p 2 



Oiven hy Diego Méndez [m Jiis will] of some events that 
occurred in the last voyage of the Admiral Don 
Christoioher Columhus. 

Diego Méndez^ citizen of St. Domingo, in tlie island of 
Española, being in the city of Valladolid, where the Court 
of their Majesties was at the time staying, made his will on 
the sixth day of June, of the year one thousand five hundred 
and thirty-sis, before Fernando Perez, their Majesties' 
scrivener, and notary public in that their Court, and in all 
their Kingdoms and Lordships, the witnesses to the same 
being Diego de Arana, Juan Diez Miranda de la Cuadi-a, 
Martin de Orduiia, Lucas Fernandez, Alonzo de Ángulo, 
Francisco de Hinojosa and Diego de Aguilar, all servants of 
my Lady the Vicequeen of the Indies.^ And among other 
chapters of the said will there is one which runs literally as 
follows : — 


Hecha por Diego Méndez, de algunos acontecimientos del último viage 

del Almirante Don Cristóbal Colon. 
Diego Méndez, vecino de la ciudad de Santo Domingo de la Isla 
Española, hallándose en la villa de Valladolid, donde á la sazón 
estaba la Corte de SS. MM., otorgó testamento en seis días del 
mes de Junio del año de mil quinientos treinta y seis, por testi- 
monio de Fernán Perez, escribano de SS. MM., y su notario púb- 
lico en la su Corte y en todos los sus Reinos y Señoríos ; siendo 
testigos al otorgamiento Diego de Arana, Juan Diez Miranda de 
la Cuadra, Martin de Orduña, Lucas Fernandez, Alonso de 
Ángulo, Francisco de Hinojosa y Diego de Aguilar, todos criados 
de la Señora Vireina de las Indias. Y entre otros capítulos del 
mencionado testamento hay uno que á la letra dice así. 
' Donna Maria de Toledo, widow of Diego Columbus. 


Clause of the will^ Item : The very illustrious gentlemen, 
the admiral Don Christopher Columbus, of glorious memory, 
and his son the admiral Don Diego Columbus, and his grand- 
son the admiral Don Louis, (whom may God long preserve), 
and through them my Lady the Vicequeen, as tutress and 
gviardian of the latter, are in debt to me, for many and great 
services that I have rendered them, in as much as I have 
spent and worn out the best part of my life even to its close 
in their service ; especially did I serve the admiral Don 
Christopher, going with his Lordship to the discovery of the 
islands and terra firma, and often putting myself in danger 
of death in order to save his life and the lives of those who 
were with him, more particularly when we were shut in at 
the mouth of the river Belen or Yebra, through the violence 
of the sea and the winds which drove up the sand, and raised 
such a mountain of it as to close up the entrance of the port. 
His Lordship being there greatly afflicted, a multitude of 
Indians collected together on shore to burn the ships, and 
kill us all, pretending that they were going to make war 

Cláusula del testamento. Item : Los muy ilustres Señores, el 
Almirante D. Cristobal Colon, de gloriosa memoria, y su hijo el 
Almirante D. Diego Colon, y su nieto el Almirante D. Luis, á 
quien Dios dé largos dias de vida, y por ellos la Vireina mi 
Señora, como su tutriz y curadora, rae son en cargo de muchos y 
grandes servicios que yo les hice, en que consumí y gasté todo lo 
mejor de mi vida hasta acaballa en su servicio ; especialmente 
serví al gran Almirante D. Cristóbal andando con su Señoría 
descubriendo Islas y Tierra firme, en que puse muchas veces mi 
persona á peligro de muerte por salvar su vida y de los que con 
él iban y estaban ; mayormente cuando se nos cerró el puerto del 
rio de Belen ó Yebra donde estábamos con la fuerza de las tem- 
pestades de la mar y de los vientos que acarrearon y amontonaron 
la arena en cantidad con que cegaron la entrada del puerto, Y 
estando su Señoría allí muy congojado, juntóse gran multitud de 
Indios de la tierra para venir á quemarnos los navios y matarnos 
á todos, con color que decían que iban á hacer guerra a otros 


against other Indians of the province of Cabrava Aurira, 
with whom they were at enmity. Though many of them 
passed by that part where our ships were lying, none of the 
fleet took notice of the matter except myself, who went to 
the admiral and said to him, " Sir, these people who have 
passed by in order of battle, say that they go to unite them- 
selves with the people of Veragua, to attack the people 
of Cobrava Aurira : I do not believe it, but, on the con- 
trary, I think that they are collected together to burn our 
ships and kill all of us," — as in fact was the case. The 
admiral then asked me what were the best means of pre- 
venting this, and I proposed to his Lordship that I should 
go with a boat along the coast towards Veragua, to see where 
the royal court sat. I had not proceeded on my errand half 
a league when I found nearly a thousand men of war with 
great stores of provisions of all kinds, and I went on shore 
alone amongst them, leaving my boat afloat ; I then spoke 
with them, making them understand me as well as I could, 
and offered to go with them to the battle with that armed 
boat ; but this they strongly refused, saying there was no 

Indios de las provincias de Cobrava Aurira con quien tenían 
guerra : y como pasaron muchos dellos por aquel puerto en que 
teníamos nosotros las naos, ninguno de la armada caía en el 
negocio sino yo, que fui al Almirante y le dije : " Señor, estas 
gentes que por aquí han pasado en orden de guerra dicen que se 
han de juntar con los de Veragoa para ir contra los de Cobrava 
Aurira : yo no lo creo sino el contrario, y es que se juntan para 
quemarnos los navios y matarnos á todos," como de hecho lo era. 
Y dícíéndome el Almirante cómo se remediaría, yo dije á su 
Señoría que saldría con una barca é iría por la costa hacía Vera- 
goa, para ver donde asentaban el real. T no hube andado media 
legua cuando halle al pie de mil hombres de guerra con muchas 
vituallas y brevages, y salté en tierra solo entre ellos, dejando mí 
barca puesta en flota : y hablé con ellos según pude entender, y 
ofrecíme que quería ir con ellos á la guerra con aquella barca ar- 
mada, y ellos se escusaron i'eciaraente diciendo qua no le habían 


need of sucli a thing. After that I returned to the boat^ and 
remained there in sight of them all that nighty so that they 
could not go to the ships to burn or destroy them^ according 
to their previous arrangements, without my seeing them, 
upon which they changed their plan, and on that same night 
they all returned to Veragua. I then went back to the 
ships, and related all this to his Lordship, who thought no 
little of what I had done, and upon his consulting me as to 
the best manner of proceeding so as clearly to ascertain what 
was the intention of the people, I offered to go to them with 
one single companion ; and this task I undertook, though 
more certain of death than of life in the result. 

After journeying along the beach up to the river of Ve- 
ragua, I found two canoes of strange Indians, who related 
to me more in detail, that these people were indeed col- 
lected together to burn our ships and kill us all, and that 
they had forsaken their purpose in consequence of the 
boat coming up to the spot, but that they intended to 
return after two days to make the attempt once more. 
I then asked them to carry me in their canoes to the upper 

menester : y como yo me volviese á la barca y estuviese allí á 
vista dellos toda la noche, vieron que no podían ir á las naos para 
quemallas y destruillas, según tenían acordado, sin que yo lo viese, 
y mudaron propósito : y aquella noche se volvieron todos á 
Veragoa, y yo me volví á las naos y hice relación de todo á su 
Señoría, é no lo tuvo en poco. T platicando conmigo sobrello 
sobre que manera se ternía para saber claramente el intento de 
aquella gente, yo me ofrecí de ir allá con un solo compañero, y 
lo puse por obra, yendo mas cierto de la muerte que de la vida : y 
habiendo caminado por la playa hasta el rio de Veragoa hallé dos 
canoas de Indios extrangeros que me contaron muy á la clara 
como aquellas gentes iban para quemar las naos y matarnos á 
todos, y que lo dejaron de hacer por la barca que allí sobrevino, y 
questaban todavía de propósito de volver á hacello dende á dos 
días, é yo les rogué que me llevasen en sus canoas el rio arriba, y 
que gelo pagaría ; y ellos se escusaban aconsejándome que en 


part of the river, offering to remunerate tliem if they would 
do so ; but they excused themselves, and advised me by no 
means to go, for that both myself and my companion 
would certainly be killed. At length, in spite of their ad- 
vice, I prevailed upon them to take me in their canoes to 
the upper part of the river, until I reached the villages of 
the Indians, whom I found in order of battle. They, however, 
would not, at first, allow me to go to the principal residence 
of the cacique, till I pretended that I was come as a surgeon 
to cure him of a wound that he had in his leg ; then, after 
I had made them some presents, they suffered me to proceed 
to the seat of royalty, which was situated on the top of a hil- 
lock, surmounted by a plain, with a large square surrounded 
by three hundred heads of the enemies he had slain in 
battle. When I had passed through the square, and reached 
the royal house, there was a great clamour of women and 
children at the gate, who ran into the palace screaming. 
Upon this, one of the chief's sons came out in a high 
passion, uttering angry words in his own language; and, 
laying hands upon me, with one push he thrust me far 

ninguna manera fuese, porque fuese cierto que en llegando me 
matarían á mí y al compañero que llevaba. E sin embargo de 
sus consejos hice que me llevasen en sus canaos el rio arriba 
hasta llegar á los pueblos de los Indios, los cuales hallé todos 
puestos en orden de guerra, que no me querían dejar ir al asiento 
principal del Cacique ; y yo fingiendo que le iba á curar como 
cirujano de una llaga que tenia en una pierna, y con dádivas que 
les di me dejaron ir hasta el asiento Real, que estaba encima de 
un cerro llano con una plaza grande, rodeada de trescientas 
cabezas de muertos que hablan ellos muerto en una batalla : y 
como yo hubiese pasado toda la plaza y llegado á la Casa Real 
hubo grande alboroto de mugeres y muchachos que estaban á la 
puerta, que entraron gritando dentro en el palacio. Y salió de él 
un hijo del Señor muy enojado diciendo palabras recias en su 
lenguage, é puso las manos en mí y de un empellón me desvió 
muy lejos de sí : diciéndole yo por amansarle como iba á curar á 



away from him. In order to appease him, I told him that 
I was come to cure the wound in his father's leg, and 
showed him an ointment that I had brought for that pur- 
pose ; but he replied, that on no account whatever should I 
go in to the place where his father was. When I saw that 
I had no chance of appeasing him in that way, I took out a 
combj a pair of scissors, and a mirror, and caused Escobar, 
my companion, to comb my hair and then cut it off. When 
the Indian, and those who were with him, saw this, they 
stood in astonishment ; upon which I prevailed on him to 
suffer his own hair to be combed and cut by Escobar ; I 
then made him a present of the scissors, with the comb and 
the mirror, and thus he became appeased. After this, I 
begged him to allow some food to be brought, which was 
soon done, and we ate and drank in love and good fellow- 
ship, like very good friends. I then left him and returned 
to the ships, and related all this to my lord the Admiral, 
who was not a little pleased when he heard all these cir- 
cumstances, and the things that had happened to me. He 
ordered a large stock of provisions to be put into the ships, 
and into certain straw houses that we had built there, with 
a view that I should remain, with some of the men, to exa- 

su padre cle la pierna, y mostrándole cierto ungüento que para 
ello llevaba, dijo que en ninguna manera habia de entrar donde 
estaba su padre. Y visto por mí que por aquella via no podía 
amansarle, saqué un peine y unas tijeras y un espejo, y hice que 
Escobar mi compañero me peinase y cortase el cabello. Lo cual 
visto por él y por los que allí estaban quedaban espantados ; y yo 
entonces hice que Escobar le peinase á él y le cortase el cabello 
con las tijeras, y díselas y el peine y el espejo, y con esto se 
amansó ; y yo pedí que trajesen algo de comer, y luego lo trajeron, 
y comimos y bebimos en amor y compaña, y quedamos amigos ; y 
despedime del y vine á las naos, y hice relación de todo esto al 
Almirante mi Señor, el cual no poco holgó en saber todas estas 
circumstancias y cosas acaecidas por mi ; y mandó poner gran 
recabdo en las naos y en ciertas casas de paja, que teníamos Lechas 


mine and ascertain the secrets of the country. The next 
morning his lordship called me to take counsel with me as 
to what was to be done. My opinion was that we ought to 
seize that chief and all his captains; because, when they 
were taken, the common people would submit. His lord- 
ship was of the same opinion. I then submitted the stra- 
tagem and plan by which this might be accomplished ; 
and his lordship ordered that the Adelantado, his brother, 
and I, accompanied by eighty men, should go to put it into 
execution. We went, and our Lord gave us such good 
fortune, that we took the cacique and most of his captains, 
his wives, sons, and grandsons, with all the princes of his 
race ; but in sending them to the ships, thus captured, the 
cacique extricated himself from the too slight grasp of the 
man who held him, a circumstance which afterwards caused 
us much injury. At this moment it pleased God to cause 
it to rain very heavily, occasioning a great flood, by which 
the mouth of the harbour was opened and the Admiral en- 
abled to draw out the ships to sea, in order to proceed to 

allí en la playa con intención que había yo de quedar allí con 
cierta gente para calar y saber los secretos de la tierra. 

Otro día de mañana su Señoría me llamó para tomar parecer 
conmigo de lo que sobre ello se debía hacer, y fue mi parecer que 
debíamos prender aquel Señor y todos sus Capitanes, porque 
presos aquellos se sojuzgaría la gente menuda ; y su Señoría fue 
del mismo parecer : é yo di el ardid y la manera con que se debía 
hacer, y su Señoría mandó que el Señor Adelantado, su hermano, 
y yo con él fuésemos á poner en efecto lo sobredicho con ochenta 
hombres. Y fuimos, y díónos Nuestro Señor tan buena dicha 
que prendimos el Cacique y los mas de sus Capitanes y mugeres 
y hijos y nietos con todos los principales de su generación ; y 
enviándolos á las naos ansí presos, soltóse el Cacique al que le 
llevaba por su mal recabdo, el cual después nos hizo mucho daño. 
En este instante plugo á Dios que llovió mucho, y con la gran 
avenida abriósenos el puerto, y el Almirante sacó los navios á la 
mar para venirse á Castilla, quedando yo en tierra para haber de 


Spain; I, meanwliile, remaining on land as Accountant of 
his Highness, with seventy men^ and the greater part of 
the provisions of biscuitj wine, oil, and vinegar being left 
with me. 

The Admiral had scarcely got to sea (while I stayed on 
shore with about twenty men, for the others had gone to 
assist the Admiral), when suddenly more than four hun- 
dred natives, armed with cross-bows and arrows, came 
down upon me, extending themselves along the face of the 
mountain ; they then gave a shriek, then another, and 
another, and these repeated cries, by the goodness of God, 
gave me opportunity to prepare for the engagement. While 
I was on the shore among the huts which we had built, and 
they were collected on the mountain at about the distance 
of an arrow's flight, they began to shoot their arrows and 
hurl their darts, as if they had been attacking a bull. The 
arrows and cross-bow shots came down thick as hail, and 
some of the Indians then separated themselves from the 
rest, for the purpose of attacking us with clubs ; none of 
them, however, returned, for with our swords we cut off 
their arms and legs, and killed them on the spot; upon 

quedar en ella por Contador de su Alteza con setenta hombres, y 
quedábame allí la mayor parte de los mantenimientos de bizcocho 
y vino y aceite y vinagre. 

Acabado de salir el Almirante á la mar, y quedando yo en 
tierra con obra de veinte hombres porque los otros se habían 
salido con el Almirante á despedir, súbitamente sobrevino sobre 
mi mucha gente de la tierra, que serian mas de cuatrocientos 
hombres armados con sus varas y flechas y tiraderos, y tendié- 
ronse por el monte en haz y dieron una grita y otra y luego otra, 
con las cuales plugo á Dios me apercibieron á la pelea y defensa 
de ellos : y estando yo en la playa entre los bohíos que tenía 
hechos, y ellos en el monte á trecho de tiro de dardo, comenzaron 
á flechar y á garrochar como quien agarrocha toro, y eran las 
flechas y tiraderas tantas y tan continuas como granizo ; y algu- 
nos dellos se desmandaban para venirnos á dar con las macha- 


wliicli the rest took such fright, that they fled, after having 
killed in the contest seven out of twenty of our men ; while, 
on their side, they lost nine or ten of those who advanced 
the most boldly towards us. This contest lasted three long 
hours, and our Lord gave us the victory in a marvellous 
manner, we being so few and they so numerous. After 
this fight was over, the captain, Diego Tristan, came with 
the boats from the ships to ascend the river, in order to 
take in water for the voyage ; and, notwithstanding I ad- 
vised and warned him not to go, he would not trust me, 
but, against my wish, went up the river with two boats and 
twelve men ; upon which the natives attacked him, and 
killed him and all the men that he took with him, except 
one who escaped by swimming, and from whom we heard 
the news. The Indians then took the boats and broke 
them to pieces, which caused us great vexation ; for the 
Admiral was at sea with his ships without boats, while we 
were on shore deprived of the means of going to him. 
Besides this, the Indians came continually to assail us ; 

dasnas ; pero ninguno dellos volvían porque quedaban allí corta- 
dos brazos y piernas y muertos á espada : de lo cual cobraron 
tanto miedo que se retiraron atrás, habiéndonos muerto siete 
hombres en la pelea de veinte que eramos, y de ellos murieron 
diez ó nueve de los que se venían á nosotros mas arriscados. 
Duró esta pelea tres horas grandes, y Nuestro Soñor nos dio la 
vítoría milagrosamente, siendo nosotros tan poquitos y ellos 
tanta muchedumbre. 

Acabada esta pelea vino de las naos el Capitán Diego Tristan 
con las barcas para subir el rio arriba á tomar agua para su viage ; 
y no embargante que yo le aconsejé y amonesté que no subiese el 
rio arriba no me quiso creer, y contra mi grado subió con las dos 
barcas y doce hombres el rio arriba, donde le toparon aquella gente 
y pelearon con él, y le mataron á él y todos los que llavaba, que 
no escapó sino uno á nado que trujo la nueva; y tomaron las 
barcas y hiciéronlas pedazos, de que quedamos en gran fatiga, ansí 
el Aburante en la mar con sus naos sin barcas como nosotros en 


every instant playing trumpets and kettle-drums^ and utter- 
ing loud cries in the belief that they had conquered us. The 
only means of defending ourselves against these people, 
were two very good brass falconets and plenty of powder and 
ballj with which we frightened them so much that they did not 
dare approach us. This lasted for the space of four days, 
during which time I caused several bags to be made out of 
the sails of one of the vessels which we had remaining on 
shore, and into them I put all our biscuit. I then took two 
canoes, and secured them together with sticks across the 
tops, and, after loading them with the biscuit, the pipes of 
wine, and the oil and vinegar, I fastened them together 
with a rope, and had them towed along the sea while it was 
calm, so that in the seven trips we contrived to get all of it 
to the ships, and the people wei'e also carried over by few 
at a time. Meanwhile I remained with five men to the 
last, and at night T put to sea with the last boatful. The 
Admiral thought very highly of this conduct of mine, and 
did not content himself with em bracing me and kissing me 

tierra sin tener con que poder ir á él. Y á todo esto no cesaban 
los Indios de venirnos á cometer cada rato tañiendo bocinas y 
atabales, y dando alaridos pensando que nos tenian vencidos. El 
remedio contra esta gente que teníamos eran dos tiros falconetes 
de fruslera, muy buenos, y mucha pólvora y pelotas con que los 
ojeábamos que no osaban llegar á nosotros, Y esto duró por 
espacio de cuatro dias, en los cuales yo hice cosar muchos costales 
de las velas de una nao que nos quedaba, y en aquellos puse todo 
el bizcocho que teníamos, y tomé dos canoas y até la una con la 
otra parejas, con unos palos atravesados por encima, y en estos 
cargué el bizcocho todo en viages, y las pipas de vino y azeite y vin- 
agre atadas en una guindaleja y á jorno [sic, jori'o] por la mar, 
tirando por ellas las canoas, abonanzando la mar, en siete caminos 
que hicieron lo llevaron todo á las naos, y la gente que conmigo es- 
taba poco á poco la llevaron, é yo quedé con cinco hombres á la pos- 
tre siendo de noche, y en la postrera barcada me embarqué : lo cual 
el Almirante tuvo á mucho, y no se hartaba de me abrazar y besar 


on the cheeks for having performed so great a service, but 
asked me to take the captaincy of the ship Gapitana, with 
the government of all the crew, and, in fact, of the entire 
voyage ; which I accepted in order to oblige him, as it was 
a service of great responsibility. 

On the last day of April, in the year fifteen hundred and 
three, we left Vei'agua, with three ships, intending to make 
our passage homeward to Spain, but as the ships were all 
pierced and eaten by the teredo, we could not keep them 
above water ; we abandoned one of them after we had pro- 
ceeded thirty leagues ; the two which remained were even 
in a worse condition than that,^ so that all the hands were 
not sufficient with the use of pumps and kettles and pans to 
draw off the water that came through the holes made by the 
worms. In this state, with the utmost toil and danger, we 
sailed for thirty-five days, thinking to reach Spain, and at 
the end of this time we arrived at the lowest point of the 
island of Cuba, at the province of Homo, where the city of 
Trinidad now stands, so that we were three hundred leagues 

en los carrillos por tan gran servicio como allí le hice, y me rogó 
tomase la capitanía de la nao Capitana y el regimiento de toda la 
gente y del viage, lo cual yo acepté por le hacer servicio en ello 
por ser, como era, cosa de gran trabajo. 

Postrero de Abril de mil quinientos y tres partimos de Yeragoa 
con tres navios, pensando venir la vuelta de Castilla : y como los 
navios estaban todos abujerados y comidos de gusanos no los po- 
díamos tener sobre agua ; y andadas treinta leguas dejamos el 
uno, quedándonos otros dos peor acondicionados que aquel, que 
toda la gente no bastaba con las bombas y calderas y vasijas á 
sacar el agua que se nos entraba por los abujeros de la broma : y 
de esta manera, no sin grandísimo trabajo y peligro, pensando 
venir á Castilla navegamos treinta y cinco dias, y en cabo dellos 
llegamos á la isla de Cuba á lo mas bajo della, á la provincia de 
Homo, allá donde agora está el pueblo de la Trinidad ; de manera 

' Possibly the ship they abandoned was inferior in size, or in some 
other respect. 


further from Spain than when we left Veragua for the pur- 
pose of proceeding thither ; and this^ as I have said, with 
the vessels in very bad condition, unfit to encounter the 
sea, and our provisions nearly gone. It pleased God that 
we were enabled to reach the island of Jamaica, where we 
drove the two ships on shore, and made of them two cabins 
thatched with straw, in which we took up our dwelling, not 
however without considerable danger from the natives, who 
were not yet subdued, and who might easily set fire to our 
habitation in the night, in spite of the greatest watchful- 
ness. It was there that I gave out the last ration of biscuit 
and wine ; I then took a sword in my hand, three men only 
accompanying me, and advanced into the island; for no 
one else dared go to seek food for the Admiral and those 
who were with him. It pleased God that I found some 
people who were very gentle and did us no harm, but re- 
ceived us cheerfully, and gave us food with hearty good 
will. I then made a stipulation with the Indians, who 
lived in a village called Aguacadiba, and with their cacique, 
that they should make cassava bread, and that they should 

que estábamos mas lejos de Castilla trescientas leguas que cuando 
partimos de Veragoa para ir á ella ; y como digo los navios mal 
acondicionados, innavegables, y las vituallas que se nos acababan. 
Plugo á Dios Kuestro Señor que pudimos llegar á la isla de 
Jamaica, donde zabordamos los dos navios en tierra, y lucimos de 
ellos dos casas pajizas, en que estábamos no sin gran peligro de 
la gente de aqiiella isla, que no estaba domada ni conquistada, nos 
pusiesen fuego de noche, que fácilmente lo podían hacer por mas 
que nosotros velábamos. 

Aquí acabé de dar la postrera ración de bizcocho y vino, y tomé 
una espada en la mano y tres hombres conmigo, y fuíme por esa 
isla adelante, porque ninguno osaba ir á buscar de comer para el 
Almirante y los que con él estaban : y plugo á Dios que hallaba 
la gente tan mansa que no me hacían mal, antes se holgaban 
conmigo y me daban de comer de buena voluntad. Y en un 
pueblo que se llama Aguacadiba, concerté con los ludios y Ca- 


hunt and fish to supply the Admiral every day with a 
sufficient quantity of provisions^ which they were to bring 
to the ships^ where I promised there should be a person 
ready to pay them in blue beads_, combs and knives^ hawks'- 
bells and fish-hooks^ and other such articles which we had 
with us for that purpose. With this understandings I 
despatched one of the Spaniards whom I had brought with 
me to the admiral^ in order that he might send a person to 
pay for the provisions^ and secure their being sent. From 
thence I went to another village^ at three leagues distance 
from the former^ and made a similar agreement with the 
natives and their cacique, and then despatched another 
Spaniard to the admiral, begging him to send another per- 
son with a similar object to this village. After this I went 
further on, and came to a great cacique named Huareo, 
living in a place which is now called Melilla, thirteen 
leagues from where the ships lay. I was very well received 
by him ; he gave me plenty to eat, and ordered all his sub- 
jects to bring together in the course of three days a great 
quantity of provisions, which they did, and laid them 

ciqne que harian pan cazabe, y que cazarían y pescarían, y que 
ciarían de todas las vituallas al Almirante cierta cuantía cada día, 
y lo llevarían á las naos, con que estuviese allí persona que ge lo 
pagase en cuentas azules y peines y cuchillos y cascabeles, y an- 
zuelos y otros rescates que para ello llevábamos : y con esto con- 
cierto despaché uno de los dos cristianos que conmigo traía al 
Almirante, para que envíase persona que tuviese cargo de pagar 
aquellas vituallas y enviarlas. 

Y de allí fui á otro pueblo que estaba tres leguas de este y hice 
el mismo concierto con el Cacique y Indios, de él, y envié otro 
cristiano al Almirante para que envíase allí otra persona al mismo 

y de allí pasé adelante y llegué á un gran Cacique que se lla- 
maba Huareo, donde agora dicen Melílla, que es trece leguas de 
las naos, del cual fui muy bien recebído, que rae díó muy bien de 
comer, y mandó que todos sus vasallos trajiesen dende á tres días 


before him^ whereupon I paid him for them to his full 
satisfaction. I stipulated with him that they should furnish 
a constant supply, and engaged that there should be a per- 
son appointed to pay them; having made this arrangement, 
I sent the other Spaniard to the admiral with the provisions 
they had given me, and then begged the cacique to allow 
me two Indians to go with me to the extremity of the 
island, one to carry the hammock in which I slept, and the 
other carrying the food. 

In this manner I journeyed eastward to the end of the 
island, and came to a cacique who was named Ameyro, 
with whom I entered into close friendship. I gave him my 
name and took his, which amongst these people is regarded 
as a pledge of brotherly attachment. I bought of him 
a very good canoe, and gave him in exchange an excellent 
brass helmet that I carried in a bag, a frock, and one of 
the two shirts that I had with me ; I then put out to sea in 
this canoe, in search of the place that I had left, the cacique 
having given me six Indians to assist in guiding the canoe. 
When I reached the spot to which I had dispatched the 

iiiuclias vituallas, que le presentaron, é yo ge las pagué de ma- 
nera que fueron contentos : y concerté que ordinariamente las 
traerían, habiendo allí persona que ge las pagase, y con este con- 
cierto envié el otro cristiano con los mantenimientos que allá me 
dieron al Almirante, y pedí al Cacique que me diese dos Indios 
que fuesen conmigo fasta el cabo de la isla, que el uno me llevaba 
la hamaca en que dormía é el otro la comida. Y desta manera 
caminé hasta el cabo de la isla, á la parte del Oriente, y llegué á 
un Cacique que se llamaba Ameyro, ó hice con él amistades de 
hermandad, y díle mi nombre y tomé el suyo, qiie entre ellos se 
tiene por grande hermandad. Y cómprele una canoa muy buena 
que él tenia, y díle por ella una bacineta de latón muy buena que 
llevaba en la manga y el sayo y una camisa de dos que llevaba, y 
embarquéme en aquella canoa, y vine por la mar requiriendo las 
estancias que habia dejado con seis Indios que el Cacique me dio 
para que me la ayudasen á navegar, y venido á los lugares donde 


provisions, I found tliere the Spaniards whom the admiral 
had sent, and I loaded them with the victuals that I had 
brought with me, and went myself to the admiral, who 
gave me a very cordial reception. He was not satisfied 
with seeing and embracing me, but asked me respecting 
everything that had occurred in the voyage, and offered up 
thanks to God for having delivered me in safety from so 
barbarous a people. The men rejoiced greatly at my arrival, 
for there was not a loaf left in the ships when I returned to 
them with the means of allaying their hunger; this, and 
every day after that, the Indians came to the ships loaded 
with provisions from the places where I had made the 
agreements ; so that there was enough for the two hundred 
and thirty people who were with the admiral. Ten days 
after this, the admiral called me aside, and spoke to me of 
the great peril he was in, addressing me as follows : — 
'' Diego Méndez, my son, not one of those whom I have 
here with me has any idea of the great danger in which we 
stand except myself and you; for we are but few in number, 
and these wild Indians are numerous and very fickle and 

yo habia proveído, hallé en ellos los cristianos que el Almirante 
habia enviado, y cargué de todas las vituallas que les hallé, y 
fuime al Almirante, del cual fui muy bien recebido, que no se 
hartaba de verme y abrazarme, y preg-untar lo que me habia su- 
cedido en el viage, dando gracias á Dios que me habia llevado y 
traido á salvamiento libre de tanta gente salvage. T como el 
tiempo que yo llegué á las naos no habia en ellas un pan que co- 
mer, fueron todos muy alegres con mi venida, porque les maté la 
hambre en tiempo de tanta necesidad, y de allí adelante cada 
dia venian los Indios cargados de vituallas á las naos de aquellos 
lugares que yo habia concertado, que bastaban para doscientas y 
treinta personas que estaban con el Almirante. Dende á diez 
dias el Almirante me llamó á parte y me dijo el gran peligro en 
que estaba, diciéndome ansi : " Diego Méndez, hijo : ninguno de 
cuantos aquí yo tengo siente el gran peligro en que estamos sino 
JO y vos, porque somos muy poquitos, y estos indios salvages son 


capricious : and whenever they may take it into their heads 
to come and burn us in our two ships_, which we have made 
into straw-thatched cabins^ they may easily do so by setting 
fire to them on the land side_, and so destroy us all. The 
arrangement that you have made with them for the supply 
of food^ to which they agreed with such good-will, may 
soon prove disagreeable to them ; and it would not be sur- 
prising if, on the morrow, they were not to bring us any- 
thing at all : in such case we are not in a position to take 
it by main force, but shall be compelled to accede to their 
terms. I have thought of a remedy, if you consider it ad- 
visable ; which is, that some one should go out in the 
canoe that you have purchased, and make his way in it to 
Española, to purchase a vessel with which we may escape 
from the extremely dangerous position in which we now 
are. Tell me your opinion," To which I answered: — "My 
lord, I distinctly see the danger in which we stand, which 
is much greater than would be readily imagined. With 
respect to the passage from this island to Española in so 
small a vessel as a canoe, I look upon it not merely as 
diflBcult, but impossible; for I know not who would venture 

muchos y muy mudables y antojadizos, y en la hora que se les 
antojare de venir y quemarnos aquí donde estamos en estos dos 
navioa hechos casas pajizas fácilmente pueden echar fuego dende 
tierra y abrasarnos aquí á todos : y el concierto que vos habéis 
hecho con ellos del traer los mantenimientos que traen de tan 
buena gana, mañana se les antojará otra cosa y no nos ti-aerán 
nada, y nosotros no somos parte para tomargelo per fuerza si no 
estar á lo que ellos quisieren. Yo he pensado un remedio si á vos 
os parece : que en esta canoa que comprastes se aventurase alguno 
á pasar á la Isla Española á comprar una nao en que pudiesen 
salir de tan gran peligro como este en que estamos. Decidme 
vuestro parecer." Yo le respondí: "Señor: el peligro en que 
estaraos bien lo veo, que es muy mayor de lo que se puede pensar. 
El pasar desta Isla á la Isla Española en tan poca vasija como es 
la canoa, no solamente lo tengo por dificultoso, sino por imposible : 


to encounter so terrific a danger as to cross a gulf of forty 
leagues of sea^ and amongst islands where the sea is most 
impetuous^ and scarcely ever at rest." His lordship did 
not agree with the opinion that I expressed, but adduced 
strong arguments to show that I was the person to under- 
take the enterprise. To which I replied : — " My lord, I 
have many times put my life in danger to save yours, and 
the lives of all those who are with you, and God has mar- 
vellously preserved me : in consequence of this, there have 
not been wanting murmurers who have said that your lord- 
ship entrusts every honourable undertaking to me, while 
there are others amongst them who would perform them as 
well as I. My opinion is, therefore, that your lordship 
would do well to summon all the men, and lay this business 
before them, to see if, amongst them all, there is one who 
will volunteer to undertake it, which I certainly doubt ; and 
if all refuse, I will risk my life in your service, as I have 
done many times already." 

On the following day his lordship caused all the men to 
appear together before him, and then opened the matter to 

porque haber de atravesar un golfo de cuarenta leguas de raar y 
entre islas donde la mar es mas impetuosa y de menos reposo, 
no sé quien se ose aventurar á peligro tan notorio. Su Señoría no 
me replicó, persuadiéndome reciamente que yo era el que lo habia 
de hacer, á lo cual yo respondí : " Señor : muchas veces he puesto 
mi vida á peligro de muerte por salvar la vuestra y de todos estos 
que aqui están, y nuestro Señor milagrosamente me ha guardado 
y la vida; y con todo no han faltado murmuradores que dicen 
que vuestra Señoría me acomete á mí todas las cosas de honra, 
habiendo en la compañía otros que las harían tan bien como yo : 
y por tanto paréceme á mí que vuestra Señoría los haga llamar á 
todos y los proponga este negocio, para ver si entre todos ellos 
habrá alguno que lo quiera emprender, lo cual yo dudo ; y cuando 
todos se echen de fuera, yo pondré mi vida á muerte por vuesti'O 
servicio, como muchas veces lo he hecho. 

Luego el dia siguiente su Señoría los hizo juntar á todos delante 


tliem in the same manner as he had done to me. When 
they heard it they were all silent^ until some said that it 
was out of the question to speak of such a thing ; for it was 
impossible^ in so small a craft, to cross a boisterous and 
perilous gulf of forty leagues' breadth, and to pass between 
those two islands, where very strong vessels had been lost 
in going to make discoveries, not being able to encounter 
the force and fury of the currents. I then arose, and said: — 
"My lord, I have but one life, and I am willing to hazard it 
in the service of your lordship, and for the welfare of all 
those who are here with us ; for I trust in God, that in con- 
sideration of the motive which actuates me, he will give me 
deliverance, as he has already done on many other occasions. '^ 
When the admiral heard my determination, he arose and 
embraced me, and, kissing me on the cheek, said, — " Well 
did I know that there was no one here but yourself who 
Avould dare to undertake this enterprise : I trust in God, 
our Lord, that you will come out of it victoriously, as you 
have done in the others which you have undertaken. '^ On 
the following day I drew my canoe on to the shore ; fixed a 

si, y les propuso el negocio de la manera que á mí : é oido, todos 
enmudecieron, y algunos dijeron que era por demás platicarse en 
semejante cosa, porque era imposible en tan pequeña vasija pasar 
tan impetuoso y peligroso golfo de cuarenta leguas como este, 
entre estas dos islas donde muy recias naos se liabian perdido 
andando á descubrir, sin poder romper ni forzar el ímpetu y furia 
de las corrientes. Entonces yo me levanté y dije : " Señor : una 
vida tengo no mas, yo la quiero aventurar por servicio de vuestra 
Señoría y por el bien de todos los que aquí están, porque tengo 
' esperanza en Dios nuestro Señor que vista la intención con que yo 
lo hago me librará, como otras muchas veces lo lia hecho." Oidit 
por el Almirante mi determinación levantóse y abrazóme y besóme 
en el carrillo, diciendo : " Bien sabia yo que no habia aquí ninguno 
que osase tomar esta empresa sino vos : esperanza tengo en Dios 
nuestro Señor saldréis della con vitoria como de las otras quo 
luibois emprendido." 


false keel on it, and pitclied and greased it ; I then nailed 
some boards upon tlie poop and prow, to prevent the sea 
from coming in, as it was liable to do from the lowness of 
the gunwales ; I also fixed a mast in it, set up a sail, and 
laid in the necessary provisions for myself, one Spaniard, 
and six Indians, making eight in all, which was as many as 
the canoe would hold. I then bade farewell to his lordship, 
and all the others, and proceeded along the coast of Jamaica, 
up to the extremity of the island,^ which was thirty-five 
leagues from the point whence we started. Even this dis- 
tance was not traversed without considerable toil and danger; 
for on the passage I was taken prisoner by some Indian 
pirates, from whom Grod delivered me in a marvellous 
manner. When we had reached the end of the island, and 
were remaining there in the hope of the sea becoming 
sufficiently calm to allow us to continue our voyage across 
it, many of the natives collected together with the determi- 
nation of killing me, and seizing the canoe with its contents, 
and they cast lots for my life, to see which of them should 
carry their design into execution. 

El dia siguiente yo puse mi canoa á monte, y le eché una quilla 
postiza, y le di su brea y sebo, y en la popa y proa clávele algunas 
tablas para defensa de la mar que no se me entrase como hiciera 
siendo rasa ; y púsele un mástil y su vela, y metí los mantenimi- 
entos que pude para mí y para un cristiano y para seis indios, que 
éramos ocho personas, y no cabian mas en la canoa : y despedíme 
de su Señoría y de todos, y fuime la costa arriba de la Isla de 
Jamaica, donde estábamos, que hay dende las naos hasta el cabo 
dalla treinta y cinco leguas, las cuales yo navegué con gran peligro 
y trabajo, porque fui preso en el camino de Indios salteadores en 
la mar, de que Dios me libró milagrosamente. Y llegado al cabo 
de la isla, estando esperando que la mar se amansase para acometer 
mi viage, juntáronse muchos Indios y determinaron de matarme 
y tomar la canoa y lo que en ella llevaba ; y así juntos jugaron 

^ Ferdinand Columbus says that the Indians called this eastern point 
of the island Aramaquique, and that it was thirty-four leagues from 
Maima, where the admiral was. 


As soon as I became aware of their project^ I betook my- 
self secretly to my canoe, wliich. I had left at three leagues 
distance from where 1 then was, and set sail for the spot 
where the admiral was staying, and reached it after an inter- 
val of fifteen days from my departure. I related to him all 
that had happened, and how God had miraculously rescued 
me from the hands of those savages. His lordship was very 
joyful at my arrival, and asked me if I would recommence 
my voyage; I replied that I would, if I might be allowed to 
take some men, to be with me at the extremity of the 
island until I should find a fair opportunity of putting to 
sea to prosecute my voyage. The admiral gave me seventy 
men, and with them his brother the Adelantado, to stay 
with me until I put to sea, and to remain there for three 
days after my departure ; with this arrangement I returned 
to the extremity of the island and waited there four days. 
Finding the sea become calm I parted from the rest of the 
men with much mutual sorrow ; I then commended myself 
to God and our Lady of Antigua, and was at sea five days 
and four nights without laying down the oar from my hand. 

mi vida á la pelota para ver á cual dallos cabria la ejecución del 
negocio. Lo cual sentido por mí víneme ascondidamente á mi 
canoa, que tenia tres leguas de allí, y hícime á la vela y víneme 
donde estaba el Almirante, habiendo quince dias que de allí habia 
partido : y contele todo lo sucedido, cómo Dios milagrosamente 
me habia librado de las manos de aquellos salvages. Su Señoina 
fue muy alegre de mi venida, y preguntóme si volvería al viage. 
Yo dije que sí, llevando gente que estuviese conmigo en el cabo de 
la isla hasta que yo entrase en la mar á proseguir mi viage. Su 
Señoría me dio setenta hombres y con ellos á su hermano le Ade- 
lantado, que fuesen y estuviesen conmigo hasta embarcarme, y 
tres dias después. T desta manera volví al cabo de la isla donde 
estuve cuatro dias. Viendo que la mar se amansaba me despedí 
dellos y ellos de mí, con hartas lágrimas ; y eucomendéme á Dios 
y á nuestra Señora del Antigua, y navegué cinco dias y cuatro 
noches que jamas perdí el remo de la mano gobernando la canoa 


but continued steering the canoe while my companions 
rowed. It pleased God that at the end of five days I reached 
the Island of Española at Cape San Miguel/ having been 
two days without eating or drinking, for our provisions were 
exhausted. I brought my canoe up to a very beautiful part 
of the coast, to which many of the natives soon came, and 
brought with them many articles of food, so that I remained 
there two days to take rest. I took six Indians from this 
place, and leaving those that I had brought with me, I put 
off to sea again, moving along the coast of Española, for it 
was a hundred and thirty leagues from the spot where I 
landed to the city of St. Domingo, where the Governor dwelt, 
who was the Commander de Lares. When I had proceeded 
eighty leagues along the coast of the island (not without 
great toil and danger, for that part of the island was not yet 
brought into subjugation), I reached the province of Azoa, 
which is twenty-four leagues from San Domingo, and there 
I learned from the commander Gallego, that the governor 

y los compañeros remando. Plugo á Dios nuestro Señor que en 
cabo de cinco días yo arribé á la Isla Española, al Cabo de S. 
Miguel, habiendo dos dias que no comíamos ni bebíamos por no 
tenello ; y entré con mi canoa en una ribera muy hermosa, donde 
luego vino mucha gente de la tierra y trajeron muchas cosas de 
comer, y estuve allí dos días descansando. Yo tomé seis Indios 
de allí, dejados los que llevaba, y comencé á navegar por la costa 
de la Isla Española, que hay dende allí hasta la Cíbdad de Santo 
Domingo ciento y ti^eínta leguas que yo había de anclar, porque 
estaba allí el Gobernador, que era el Comendador de Lares ; y 
habiendo andado por la costa de la isla ochenta leguas, no sin 
grandes peligros y trabajos, porque la isla no estaba conquistada 
ni allanada, llegué á la Provincia de Azoa, que es veinte y cuatro 
leguas antes de Santo Domingo, y allí supe del Comendador 
Gallego como el Gobernador era partido á la Provincia de Xuragoa 

> This cape is since called Cape Tiburón. Méndez does not speak of 
his arrival at the little island of Naraza, and other places spoken of by 
Ferdinand Columbus and Herrera. 


was gone out to subdue the province of Xuragoa, whidi was 
at fifty leagues distance. When I heard this I left my canoe 
and took the road for Xuragoa,^ where I found the governor^ 
who kept me with him seven months, until he had burned 
and hanged eighty-four caciques, lords of vassals, and with 
them Nacaona, the sovereign mistress of the island, to whom 
all rendered service and obedience. When that expedition 
was finished I went on foot to San Domingo, a distance of 
seventy leagues, and waited in expectation of the arrival of 
ships from Spain, it being now more than a year since any 
had come. In this interval it pleased God that three ships 
arrived, one of which I bought, and loaded it with pro- 
visions, bread, wine, meat, hogs, sheep, and fruit, and de- 
spatched it to the place where the admiral was staying, in 
order that he might come over in it with all his people to 
San Domingo, and from thence sail for Spain. I myself 
went on in advance with the two other ships, in order to 
give an account to the king and queen of all that had oc- 
curred in this voyage. 

á allanarla ; la cual estaba cincuenta leguas de allí. Y esto sabido 
dejé mi canoa y tomé el camino por tierra de Xuragoa, donde 
hallé el Gobernador, el cual me detuvo allí siete meses hasta que 
hizo quemar y ahorcar ochenta y cuatro Caciques, señores de 
vasallos, y con ellos á Nacaona la mayor señora de la isla, á 
quien todos ellos obedecían y servían. Y esto acabado vine de 
píe á tierra de Santo Domingo, que era setenta leguas de allí, y 
estuve esperando viniesen naos de Castüla, que había mas de un 
año que no habían venido. Y en este comedio plugo á Dios que 
vinieron tres naos, de las cuales yo compré la una y la cargué de 
vituallas, de pan y vino y carne y puercos y carneros y frutas, y 
la envié adonde estaba el Almirante para en que viniesen él y toda 
la gente como vinieron allí á Santo Domingo y de allí á Castilla. 
E yo me vine delante en las otras dos naos á hacer relación al Rey 
y á la Reina de todo lo sucedido en aquel viage. 

' This sliouM be Xarasrua. 


I think I should now do well to say somewliat of the events 
which occurred to the admiral and to his family during the 
year that they were left on the island. A few days after my 
departure the Indians became refractory^ and refused to 
bring food as they had hitherto done ; the admiral therefore 
caused all the caciques to be summoned^ and expressed to 
them his surprise that they should not send food as they 
were wont to do, knowing as they did_, and as he had already 
told them, that he had come there by the command of God. 
He said that he perceived that God was angry with them, 
and that He would that very night give tokens of His dis- 
pleasure by signs that He would cause to appear in the 
heavens ; and as on that night there was to be an almost 
total eclipse of the moon, he told them that God caused that 
appearance to signify His anger against them for not bring- 
ing the food. The Indians, believing him, were very 
frightened, and promised that they would always bring him 
food in future ; and so in fact they did until the arrival of 
the ship which I had sent loaded with provisions. The Ad- 
miral, and those who were with him, felt no small joy at the 
arrival of this ship ; and his lordship afterwards informed me 

Paraceme que será bien que se diga algo de lo acaecido al Almi- 
rante y á su familiar en un año que estuvieron perdidos en aquesta 
isla : y es que dende á pocos dias que yo me partí los Indios se 
amotinaron y no le querian traer de comer como antes ; y él los 
hizo llamar á todos los Caciques y les digo que se maravillaba 
dellos en no traerle la comida como solían, sabiendo como él les 
habia dicho, que habia venido allí por mandado de Dios, y que 
Dios estaba enojado dellos, y que él ge lo mostraría aquella noche 
por señales que baria en el cielo ; y como aquella noche era el 
eclipse de la luna que casi toda se escureció, díjoles que Dios hacia 
aquello por enojo que tenía dellos porque no le traían de comer, y 
ellos lo creyeron y fueron muy espantados, y prometieron que le 
traerían siempre de comer, como de hecho lo hicieron, hasta que 
llegó la nao con los mantenímentos que yo envié, de que no pequeño 
gozo fue en el Almirante y en todos los que con él estaban : que 


in Spairij that in no part of his life did he ever experience 
SO joyful a day, for he had never hoped to have left that place 
alive : and in that same ship he set sail/ and went to San 
Domingo, and thence to Spain. 

I have wished thus to give a succinct account of my 
troubles, and of my great and important services ; which are 
such as no man in the world ever rendered to a master, or 
ever will again ; and I do so in order that my sons may know 
these facts, and be encouraged to serve faithfully, and that, 
at the same time, his lordship may see that he is bound to 
make them a handsome return for such services. When his 
lordship came to the court, and while he was at Salamanca, 
confined to his bed with the gout, and I was left in sole 
charge of his affairs, endeavouring to obtain the restitution 
of his estate and government for his son Diego, I addressed 
him thus : " My lord, your lordship knows how much I have 
done in your service, and what trouble I am still taking, 
night and day, in the management of your affairs; I beseech 

después en Castilla me dijo su Señoría que en toda su vida [nunca?] 
habia visto tan alegre día, y que nunca pensó salir de allí vivo : 
j eii esta nao se embarcó y vino á Santo Domingo y de allí á 

He querido poner aquí esta breve suma de mis trabajos y 
grandes señalados servicios, cuales nunca hizo hombre á Señor, 
ni los hará de aquí adelante del mundo ; y esto á fin que mis hijos 
lo sepan y se animen á servir, é su Señoría sepa que es obligado 
á hacerles muchas mercedes. 

Venido su Señoría á la Corte, y estando en Salamanca en la cama 
enfermo de gota, andando yo solo entendiendo en sus negocios y 
en la restitución de su estado y de la gobernación para su hijo D. 
Diego, yo le dije ansi : " Señor : ya vuestra Señoría sabe lo mucho 
que os he servido y lo mas que trabajo de noche y de día en 
vuestros negocios : suplico á vuestra Señoria me señale algún 

i On the twenty-eighth of June 1504 ; he entered the harbour of St. 
Domingo on the tliirteenth of August, started for Spain on the twelfth 
of September, and arrived at San Lucar on Thiu:sday, the seventh of 


your lordship to grant me some recompense for wliat I have 
done/' He cheerfully replied that he would do for me what- 
ever I askedj adding that there was very great reason for 
his so doing. I then specified my wish, and begged his 
lordship to do me the favour to grant me the office of prin- 
cipal Alguazil of the island of Española for life ; to which his 
lordship assented most cordially, saying, that it was but a 
trifling remuneration for the great services I had rendered. 
He also desired me to communicate his wish to his son 
Diego, who was very glad to hear of the favour his father 
had shown me in appointing me to the said office ; and said, 
that if his father gave it me with one hand, he, for his part, 
gave it with both hands. This promise holds good as much 
now as it did then ; but when, after I had succeeded, with 
considerable difficulty, in securing the restitution of the 
government of the Indies to my lord the Admiral Don Diego, 
(his father being then dead), I asked him for the provision 
of the said office, his lordship rephed that he had given it to 
his uncle, the Adelantado, saying, however, that he would 
give me another post equivalent to it. I told him that he 

galardón para en pago dello :" y él me respondió alegremente que 
yo lo señalase y él lo cumpliría, porque era mucha razón. Y 
entonces yo le señalé y supliqué á su Señoría me hiciese merced 
del oficio del Alguacilazgo mayor de la Isla Española para en toda 
mi vida : y su Señoría dijo que de muy buena voluntad, y que era 
poco para lo mucho que yo había servido ; y mandóme que lo 
dijese ansi al Sr. D. Diego, su hijo, el cual fue muy alegre de la 
merced á mí hecha de dicho oficio, y dijo que sí su padre me lo 
daba con una mano, él con dos. Y esto es ansi la verdad para el 
siglo que á ellos tiene y á mi espera. 

Habiendo yo acabado, no sin grandes trabajos míos, de negociar 
la i'estitucion de la gobernación de las Indias al Almirante D. 
Diego, mi Señor, siendo su padre fallecido, le pedí la provision del 
dicho oficio. Su Señoría rae respondió que lo tenía dado al Ade- 
lantado su tío ; pero que él me daría otra cosa equivalente á aquella. 
Yo dije que aquella diese él á su tío, y á mí me diese lo que su 


ought to make such a proposition to his uncle, and that he 
ought to give me that which his father, and he himself, had 
promised to me. But he did not do so ; and thus I remained 
without any recompense for all my services : while my lord, 
the Adelantado, without having rendered any service at all, 
continued in the enjoyment of the dignity which belonged 
to me, and reaped the reward of all my exertions. 

When his lordship arrived at the city of San Domingo, he 
assumed the reins as governor, and gave the post which he 
had promised to me, to Francisco de Garay, a servant of the 
Adelantado, to hold it for him. This took place on the tenth 
day of July of the year fifteen hundred and ten, and the 
office was then worth at least a million per annum. My 
lady, the Vicequeen, as tutress and guardian of my lord the 
viceroy, and my lord the viceroy himself, are really charge- 
able to me for this loss, and are debtors to me for it in justice 
and on the score of conscience. The post had been given to 
me by way of recompense, and nothing has been done in my 
favour towards the accomplishment of the AdmiraPs promise, 
since the day in which it was given, to this, the close of my 
life ; if it had been given to me, I should have been the 

padre y él me habían prometido, lo cual no se hizo ; y yo quedé 
cargado de servicios sin ningún galardón, y el Sr. Adelantado, sin 
haberlo servido, quedó con mi oficio y con el galardón de todos 
mis afanes. 

Llegado su Señoría á la Cíbdad de Santo Domingo por Gober- 
nador tomó las varas dio este oficio á Francisco de Garay, criado 
del Sr. Adelantado, que lo sirviese por él. Esto fue en diez dias 
del mes de Julio de mil quinientas diez años. Valia entonces el 
oficio á lo menos un cuento de renta, del cual la Vireina, mi Se- 
ñora, como tutriz y curadora del Virey, mi Señor, y él me son en 
cargo realmente y me lo deben de justicia y de foro conscientke, 
porque me fue hecha la merced de él, y no se cumplió conmigo 
dende el dia que se dio al Adelantado hasta el postrero de mis dias, 
porque si se me diera yo fuera el mas rico hombre de la isla y mas 


richest and most honoured man in the island ; whereas^ I 
am now the poorest, and have not even a house of my own 
to hve in, but am obliged to pay rent for the roof over my 
head. As it would be very difficult to refund the revenues 
which this office has produced, I will suggest an alternative, 
which is this : that his lordship grant the rank of principal 
Alguazil of the city of San Domingo, to one of my sons, 
for his life, and bestow upon the other the rank of Vice- 
Admiral in the same city : by the grant of these two offices 
to my sons in the manner I have said, and by appointing 
some one to hold them on their behalf until they come of age, 
his lordship will discharge the conscience of the Admiral his 
father, and I shall hold myself satisfied, as duly paid for my 
services. I shall say nothing further upon the subject, but 
leave it to the consciences of their lordships, and let them 
do whatever they think proper. 

Item. I leave as executors and administrators of my will 
here at the court, the bachelor Estrada and Diego de Arana, 
together with my lady the Vicequeen ; and I beg his lord- 

honrado ; y por no se me dar soy el mas pobre della, tanto que no 
tengo una casa en que more sin alquiler. 

Y porque habérseme de pagar lo que el oficio ha rentado seria 
muy dificultoso, yo quiero dar un medio y será este : que su Se- 
ñoría haga merced del Alguacilazgo mayor de la Cibdad de Santo 
Domingo á uno de mis hijos para en toda su vida, y al otro le haga 
merced de su Teniente de Almirante en la dicha Cibdad : y con 
hacer merced destos dos oficios á mis hijos de la manera que he 
aquí dicho, y poniéndolos en cabeza de quien los serva por ellos 
hasta que sean de edad, su Señoría descargará la conciencia del 
Almirante su padre, y yo me satisfaré de la paga que se me debe 
de mis servicios : y en esto no diré mes de dejallo en sus concien- 
cias de sus Señorías, y hagan en ello lo que mejor les pare- 

ítem : Dejo por mis albaceas y ejecutores deste mi testamento, 
aquí en la corte, al Bachiller Estrada y á Diego de Arana, junta- 


ship to undertake tliis cliarge^ and to direct the others to 
undertake it likewise. 

Another clause. Item. I order that my executors pur- 
chase a large stone, the best that they can find, and place it 
upon my grave, and that they write round the edge of it 
these words : '' Here lies the honourable Chevalier Diego 
Méndez, who rendered great services to the royal crown of 
Spain, in the discovery and conquest of the Indies, in com- 
pany with the discoverer of them, the Admiral Don Christo- 
pher Columbus, of glorious memory, and afterwards rendered 
other great services by himself, with his own ships, and at 
his own cost. He died, etc. He asks of your charity a 
Paternoster and an Ave Maria. 

Item. In the middle of the said stone let there be the re- 
presentation of a canoe, which is a hollowed tree, such as the 
Indians use for navigation ; for in such a vessel did I ci-oss 
three hundred leagues of sea ; and let them engrave above it 
this word : " Canoa. ^^ 

My dear and beloved sons, children of my very dear and 
beloved wife Doña Francisca de Ribera, — may the blessing 

mente con la Vireina, mi Señora, y suplico yo á su Señoría lo 
acepte y les mande á ellos lo mismo. 

Otra cláusula. ítem : Mando que mis albaceas compren una 
piedra grande, la mejor que hallaren, y se ponga sobre mi sepul- 
tura, y se escriba en derredor della estas letras : " Aquí yace el 
honrado caballero Diego Méndez que sirvió mucho á la Corona 
Real de España en el descubrimiento y conquista de las Indias con 
el Almirante D. Cristobal Colon, de gloriosa memoria, que las 
descubrió, y después por sí con naos suyas á su costa : falleció, 
etc. Pido de limosna un Pater noster y una Ave María. 

Itera : En medio de la dicha piedra se haga una canoa, que es 
un madero cavado en que los Indios navegan, ¡morque en otra tal 
navegó trescientas leguas, y encima pongan unas letras que digan : 
" Canoa." 

Caros y amados hijos míos, y de mi muy cara y amada muger 
Doña Francisca de Ribera, la bendición de Dios Todopoderoso, 


of God Almiglity^ Father^ Son^ and Holy Ghost^ descend 
upon youj together with my blessing, and protect you, and 
make you Catholic Christians, and give you grace always to 
love and fear Him. My sons, I earnestly recommend you to 
cultivate peace and harmony amongst yourselves, and that 
you be obliging, and not haughty, but very humble and 
courteous towards those with whom you have to do, so that 
all may loVe you. Serve loyally my lord the Admiral, and 
may his lordship grant you large recompense, considering 
who he is. himself, and by what great services I have de- 
served his favours. Above all I charge you, my sons, to be 
very pious, and to hear very devoutly the divine offices, and 
in so doing, may the Lord grant you long life. May it 
please Him of His infinite goodness, to make you as good 
as I wish you to be, and guide you always with His hand. 

The books which I send to you are as follows : 
The Art of Well-dying , by Erasmus; a Sermoyi, of Erasmus, 
in Spanish; Joseiiliiis de Bello Judaico; tine Moral Philosopliy , 
of Aristotle ; the books called Lingua Erasmi ; the book of 

Padre y Hijo y Espíritu Santo y la mía descienda sobre vos j vos 
cubra y os haga católicos cristianos, y os dé gracia que siempre le 
améis y temáis. Hijos : encomiéndeos mucho la paz y concordia, 
y que seáis muy conformes y no soberbios, sino muy humildes y 
muy amigables á todos los que contratáredes, porque todos os 
tengan amor : servid lealmente al Almirante mi Señor, y su Seño- 
ría os hará muchas mercedes por quien él es, y porque mis grandes 
servicios lo merecen ; y sobre todo os mando, hijos mios, seáis 
muy devotos y oyais muy devotamente los Oficios Divinos, y 
haciéndolo ansi Dios nuestro Señor os dará largos dias de vida. A 
él plega por su infinita bondad haceros tan buenos como yo deseo 
que seáis, y os tenga siempre de su mano. Amen. 
Los libros que de acá os envió son los siguientes : 
Arte de bien morir de Erasmo. Un sermon de Erasmo en ro- 
mance. Josefo de Bello Judaico. La Filosofía moral de Aris- 
tóteles. Los libros que se dicen Lingua Erasmi. El libro de la 


The ITolij Land ;^ The conversations of Erasmus ; A treatise 
on the Gom'plaints of Peace ; A hoolc of Gontemplation of the 
Passion of our Redeemer ; A treatise on the Pevenging of the 
Death of Agamemnon ; and other small tracts. 

I have already told you^ my sons, that I leave you these 
books as heir-looms under the conditions described above in 
my will, and I wish them to be put together with my other 
documents, which will be found in the cedar box, at Seville, 
as I have already said ; I wish also the marble mortar should 
be placed in it, which is now in the possession of Don Ferdi- 
nand, or of his major-domo. 

I, Diego Méndez, affirm that this document, contained in 
thirteen sheets, is my last will and testament, for I have 
dictated it and caused it to be written, and have signed it 
with my name ; and by it I revoke and annul any other will 
or wills whatever made by me at any other time or place, and 
I desire that this only be considered valid. Made in the 
city of Valladolid, the nineteenth day of June, in the year of 

Tierra santa. Los coloquios de Erasmo. Un tratado de las 
querellas de la Paz. Un libro de Contemplaciones de la Pasión 
de nuestro Redentor. Un tratado de le venganza de la muerte 
de Agamenón, y otros tratadillos. 

Ya dije, hijos mios, que estos libros os dejo por mayorazgo, con 
las condiciones que están dichas de suso en el testamento, y quiero 
que vayan todos con algunas Escrituras mias, que se hallarán en 
el arca que está en Sevilla, que es de cedro, como ya está dicho : 
pongan también en esta el mortero de mármol que está en poder 
del Sr. D. Hernando, ó de su mayordomo. 

Digo yo Diego Méndez que esta Escritura contenida en trece 
hojas es mi testamento y postrimera voluntad, porque yo lo ordené 
é hice escribir, y lo firmé de mi nombre, y por él revoco y doy 
por ningunos otros cualesquier testamentos hechos en cualesquier 
otros tiempos ó lugar ; y solo este quiero que valga, que es hecho 
en la villa de Talladolid en diez y nueve dias del raes de Junio, 

' By B. von Breydenbach.(V) 


our Redeemer one thousand five hundred and thirty-six. — 
Diego Méndez. And I^ the said Garcia de Vera, scrivener 
and notary public, was present at all which has been herein 
said ; and it has all been set down by me by order of the 
said lord-lieutenant, and by request of the said Bachelor 
Estrada, forming the testament in these twenty-six leaves of 
folio paper, as is here seen. I caused it to be written as it 
was presented and laid before me, and have kept the original 
in my possession. And to this effect I have here placed this 
my seal (here was placed the sealj, in testimony of the truth. — 
(Signed) Garcia de Vera. 

This agrees literally with the clauses copied from a will 
sealed and signed by the said scrivener, Garcia de Vera, the 
original of ivhich is in the archives of the most excellent the 
Admiral Duke of Veraguas, from which I copied it in Madrid 
on the twenty -eighth day of March, in the year eighteen hun- 
dred and twenty-five. — Thomas Gonzalez. 

Note. — The other clauses of this will of Diego Méndez, refer 
to his funeral arrangements, and the declaration of debts, due 

año de nuestro Redentor de mil quinientos treinta y seis años. 
Diego Méndez. E yo el diclio García de Vera, Escribano Notario 
público, presente fui á todo lo que dicho es, que de mi se hace 
mención, é por mandado del dicho Sr. Teniente é pedimento del 
dicho Bachiller Estrada, este testamento en estas veinte é seis hojas 
de papel, pliego entero, como aquí parece, fice escrebir como ante 
mí se presentó é abrió, é ansi queda originalmente en mi poder. 
E por ende fice aquí este mi signo tal en (esíá signado') testimonio 
de verdad. García de Vera. {Está, firmado.') 

Concuerda literalmente con las clátisulas copiadas de un testimonio 
signado y firmado por el expresado Escribano García de Vera, que 
obra originalmente en el Archivo del Excmo. Sr. Almirante Duque 
de Veraguas, de donde lo copié en Madrid á veinte y cinco días del 
mes de Marzo de m/il ochocientos veinte y cinco años. — Tomas 


hoth to him and hy him, in Spain and in the island of Hispa-' 
niola, as well as other matters purely personal, o.nd relating 
to his family ; hut they hear no reference or allusion to the 
Admiral Oolumhus, or to his voyayes and discoveries, and 
therefore have not heen copied. 


E Z 


Adda (Marquis d'), his reproduc- 
tion of the printed text of the 
first letter, cxxv 

Adelantado, see Bartholomew Co- 

Adelphiis (John), his connection 
with St. Die, Ixxxvi 

Ages, a kind of turnip used by the 
Indians, 63, 68 

Aguacadiba, village in Jamaica, 223 

Aguado (Juan), recommended to the 
notice of the King and Queen, 93 

Ai^uja (Punta de la), Needle Point, 

Ailly (Cardinal Pierre d'), his Imago 
Mundi studied by Columbus, xlv 

Alcatraz { Point), 125 

Alfragan, the Arab asti'onomer, his 
influence on Columbus, xlvii 

Aloes, found in Española, 67 

Ameyi'O (The Cacique), his friend- 
ship for Diego Méndez, 225 

Animals in Española, 42 

of Cariay, 200 

Antillia, supposed island of, xxvi 

Appianus, his Mappemonde bearing 
the name of America, Ixxxvii 

Arabian expedition to America, xix 

Arana (Diego de). Governor of Es- 
pañola, 12 

( Pedro de) commander of 

one of the ships sent on by Co- 
lumbus to Española in the third 
voyage, 115 

Avenal (Point of), 119 

Arguin, called by Columbus Har- 
gin, 136 

Arin, Island of, 135 

Arrows used by the Caribbees, 31 

Astrolabe rendered useful for sea- 
men, li 

Atlantis, spoken of by Plato, v 

Australia discovered by the Portu- 
guese witliin one hundred yeai-s 
of the rounding of Cape Bojador 
by Prince Henry's navigators, i 

Avan, a province of Juana, 10 
Ayala ( Pedro de), on the supposed 

islands in the Atlantic, xxvi 
Ayay, one of the Caribbee Islands,31 
Axes made of stone used by the In- 
dians, 68 
Azoa, Province of Española, 232 

Bacon (Eogee), his Op^is Majus sup- 
plied the portion of the Imago 
Mundi which is supposed to have 
inspired Columbus with the idea 
of discovering Amei-ica, xlvii 

Bardson (Herinlf), establishes him- 
self at Heriulsnes in Greenland, x 

Barrow (Sir John), his account of 
Cortereal's expedition, xxvii 

Bastimentos, harboiu' of, 184 

Becher (Captain) agrees with Mu- 
ñoz on the landfall of Columbus, 

Behaim (Martin), on the supposed 
islands in the Atlantic, xxvi; said 
to have discovered the Azores, 
XXX ; the evidence of his globe, 
xxxi; in conjunction with Rode- 
rigo and Josef, renders the astro- 
labe useful for seamen, li 

Belem and Belpuerto, disabled 
ships left there, 193 

or Yebra, river, 213 

Beltran, recommended to the no- 
tice of the King and Queen, 92 

Bianco (Andrea), his map, on which 
is the word " Antillia," xxvi 

Bibliography, cviii 

Birds' nests in Española at Christ- 
mas, 42 

Bobadilla (D. Francisco de), his in- 
famous treatment of Columbus, 
Ixxi ; his death, Ixxvi 

Columbus's account of his 

arrival in Española, 159 ; his con- 
duct, 1(50; arrests Columbus, 167; 
seizes his house and papers, 173 

Bohio discovered, Ixiii 



Bohío, a province of Española, 41 

Bojador (Cape), rounded by Prince 
Henry's navigators in 1434, i 

Bonacca, see Guanaga 

Brazil, supposed island of, xxvi 

Bremen (Adam of), makes the ear- 
liest allusion (printed) to the colo- 
nization of America by the Scan- 
dinavians, viii 

Brerewood (Edward), derives the 
Americans from the Tartars, vi 


Cabot (John), his zeal for the dis- 
covery of the supposed islands in 
the Atla,ntic, xxvi 

(Sebastian), his discovery 

demonstrated, xxviii 

Cabras, Goat Island, 43 

Canaanites supposed to have peopled 
America, vi 

Cannibals, Caribbee, 26, 29 

in Cariay, 201 

Canoes, 9, 10 

Caonabó, a chief in Española accused 
of having burned the Spanish set- 
tlement, 48; gold mines in Niti 
belonging to him, 64; his bad dis- 
position towards the Christians, 77 

Cape Gracias a Dios, 178 

Cape Honduras, clxxvii 

Cape Verde Islands discovered by 
Diego Gomez (see Life of Prince 
Henry the Navigator), 115, 116 

Capitana ship, the ca^ataincy given 
to Diego Méndez, 222 

Carabajal, Alonzo Sanchez de, com- 
manded one of the ships sent on 
by Columbus to Es]3añola in the 
third voyage, 115 

Caracol, Bay of, in Española, 47 

Caradoc of Llancarvan's account of 
the Welsh expedition, xxi 

Carambaru, golden mii-rors worn by 
the Indians, 180 

Cariay, Columbus arrives there in his 
fourth voyage, 180 ; enchanters, 
199; sepulchre, 199; animals, 200; 
cannibals, 201 ; copper mines, 201 ; 
cotton beautifully worked, 201 

Caribbee Islands discovered, 25 

Caseneuve (Guillaume de), his name 
confounded with that of Colum- 
bus, xxxviii 

Cathay, Northern China, 194 

CazadiÚa, bishop of Ceuta, con- 
demns the proposed enterprise of 
Columbus, lii 

Celts supposed to have peopled 
America, ix 

Ceyre, Cayre or Charis (Dominica), 
31 ; said to abound in gold, 37, 38 

Chanca's (Dr.) letter, iii ; history 
of, cxxxviii, cxl ; physician to the 
fleet of Columbus, in his second 
voyage, his letter, 19; mentioned 
in the memorial of Columbus, 93 

Chinese supposed to have reached 
America by the north, vii 

Ciamba, province of, gold mines, 

Cibao, gold mines of, 69 

Ciguare, dress and customs of the 
people, 181 

Cladera (Don Cristóbal) refutes the 
statements respecting Behaim, 

Cobrava Aurira, province, 214 

Columbus (Bartholomew) sent by 
his brother to Henry VII, Ivi ; 
arrested by Bobadilla, 167 

Columbus (Chi'istopher) derives the 
idea of explorations to the West 
from Prince Henry's researches 
into the Atlantic, i ; the impor- 
tance of his original letters, ii ; 
the pathos and dignity of his com- 
plaints, iii; the evidence of Euro- 
pean adventurers having visited 
America before his time, does not 
detract from his merit, xxxi ; 
every previous discovery having 
been accidental, zxxii; his parent- 
age and date of birth, xxxii, xxxiv; 
birthplace, XXXV; education, xxxv; 
his connection with Guillaume de 
Caseneuve discussed, xxxvii, xlii; 
his sojourn in Portugal, where 
he first receives the inspiration of 
his great discovery, his marriage 
with the daughter of Perestrello 
and consequent inheritance of his 
papers, etc., xlii, xliii; the facts 
and signs which convinced him 
there was land to the West, xliu, 
xliv ; his studies, xlv ; influenced 
by al Fergani or Alfragan, xlvii; 
Marco Polo .and Sir John Mande- 
ville, xlviii ; his letter to Tosca- 
nelli and the answer, xlix ; his 
patience in biding his time for 
application to the King of Portu- 
gal, 1 ; his letters of 1477 quoted 
by his son, 1; his audience with 
the king, li ; his enterprise con- 
demned by the Council, lii ; his 
unworthy treatment, lii ; and de- 



parture, liii ; conjectures respect- 
ing his subsequent history, liii; 
his visit to the Convent of Eabida, 
liv; his vai'ious fortune at the 
Court of Spain, liv, Ivii ; sets out 
on his first great voyage, Ivii ; 
discovers the Island of San Sal- 
vador, etc., the true land-fall 
discussed, Iviii-lxiii ; establishes 
a colony in Hispaniola, Ixiii ; 
his stormy passage home, Ixiv; 
reception at the Azores, Ixiv; ar- 
rives at Lisbon, Ixv; and reaches 
Spain in safety, Ixvi ; his triumph 
at Barcelona, Ixvi; the Papal 
bull obtained, Ixvii ; his second 
voyage, Ixviii ; and return, Ixix ; 
third voyage, Ixix ; his cruel 
treatment, Ixxi, Ixxii ; arrives in 
Spain and is honourably received 
by the sovereigns, Ixxiii ; his 
fourth voyage, Ixxiv; and return, 
Ixxix ; his sufferings tUl death, 
Ixxx ; his first letter addressed to 
Eaphael Sanchez, 1 ; discovers 
San Salvador, Santa Maria de 
Conception, Fernandina, Isabella 
and Juana, 2 ; sees another is- 
land and names it EsiDauola, 3 ; 
takes possession of Española and 
builds the fortress of ViUa de 
Navidad, 11 ; describes the bene- 
fits to be derived from his dis- 
coveries, 15, 16 ; leaves Cadiz for 
his second voyage, arrives at the 
Great Canary, Gomera, 20; Ferro, 
21 ; discovers Dominica and Ma- 
rigalante, 22 ; discovers Guada- 
loupe, 24 ; discovers Montserrat, 
Santa Maria la Redonda, Santa 
Maria la Antigua, and St. Mar- 
tin, 34; discovers Santa Cruz and 
St. Ursula, 38 ; discovers Porto 
Eico, which he names St. John 
the Baptist, 39 ; arrives at Espa- 
ñola, 41 ; receives a deputation 
from Guacamari, 44 ; finds the 
settlement destroyed by fire, 51 ; 
goes to visit Guacamari, 54 ; se- 
lects Port Isabella for the new 
settlement, builds the City of 
Marta, 62; sends two parties in 
search of gold mines, 69 ; his 
memorial to the King and Queen 
of the results of the second 
voyage, 72; refers to Gorbalem 
and Hojeda for an account of the 
gold to be fovmd, 74; describes 
the difficulties and dangers to be 

encountered, 75, 81 ; describes 
the fortuity of the country, 81 ; 
asks for supplies, 82, 84 ; asks for 
the confirmation of Antonio de 
Torres as governor of the City of 
Isabella, 92 ; recommends to the 
notice of the King and Queen 
Messire Pedi-o Margarite, Gaspar, 
Beltran, and Juan Aguado, 92, 
93; also Dr. Chanca, 93 ; Coronel, 
95 ; also Gil Garcia, 96 ; com- 
plains of the conduct of Juan de 
Soria, 98 ; asks for further assist- 
ance and stores, 100, 104; recom- 
mends Villacorta, 105 ; his narra- 
tive of his third voyage, 108; his 
address to the King and Queen, 
108, 114 ; sails from San Lucar, 
114; discovers Trinidad, 118; de- 
scribes Indians in a canoe near 
the point of Arenal, 119; violent 
currents near the Point, 122 ; 
beauty of the country at the 
Punta de la Aguja, 125 ; conjec- 
tures respecting the violent cur- 
rents, 130 ; the north star, 133 ; 
form of the earth, 134, 135 : de- 
scribes the Gulf of Pearls, 139 ; 
his conjectures as to the situation 
of Paradise, 141, 146; letter to 
the nurse of Prince John, 152; 
describes his troubles on arriving 
at Española, 155, 156; conduct of 
Hojeda and Vincent Yañez, 156; 
of Adrian Mogica and Don Ferdi- 
nand, 157 ; describes Bobadilla's 
arrival, 160 ; his arrest by Boba- 
dilla, 167 ; his house and papers 
seized, 173 ; letter to the King 
and Queen on his fourth voyage, 
175; his reception in Española, 
176; dreadful storm, 176, 178; his 
distress on account of his son and 
brother, 178, 179 ; arrives at 
Cariay, hears of gold mines in 
Ciamba, goes to Carambu, 180; 
describes the people of Ciguare, 
181 ; his conjectures with regard 
to the earth, 183 ; reaches the 
harbour of Bastimentos, 184 ; his 
suifering during an awful tempest, 
185 ; returns to Puerto Gordo, 
186; reaches Veragua, 187; finds 
gold mines, 188; deceit of the 
Cacique Quibian, 188; establishes 
a settlement, 189 ; takes the Ca- 
cique prisoner, 189; describes pa- 
thetically his misfortunes on this 
coast, 190; his di-eam, 191, 192; 



supposes himself in China, 194 ; 
reaches Jamaica, 195 ; re^jeats 
the course of his voyage, 196, 197; 
describes the enchantei's of Caviay, 
199 ; sculptured sepulchre, 199 ; 
animals, 200 ; products, 201 ; 
abundance of gold in Veragua, 
202; conjectures concerning the 
gold of Solomon, 204; his distress 
for the condition of Española and 
Paria, 206 ; his touching com- 
plaint of cruel treatment, 209, 
211 ; his conference with Diego 
Méndez related by the latter, 226 

Columbus (Diego), information 
given by him to Las Casas re- 
specting his father, xliii; leaves 
Lisbon with his father, liii; his 
father's anxiety about him, 179 

(Juan Antonio) com- 
manded one of the ships sent on 
by Columbus to Española in the 
third voyage, 115 

(Ferdinand) on the sub 

ject of bis father's parentage and 
date of birth, xxxii ; on the sub- 
ject of Caseneuve, xxxviii; on the 
subject of his father's first 
thoughts of his great discovery, 
xlii ; relates the facts and signs 
which led him on to the West, 
xliii ; collects his father's books 
and bequeaths them to the Cathe- 
dral of Seville, xlv ; speaks of the 
influence of Alfragan, xlvii; quotes 
a letter of his father's, 1 ; his 
statement that his father went to 
Spain in 1484, liii 

Copper mines in Cariay, 201 

Coral ornaments worn by the In- 
dians of Ciguare, 181 

Cordeiro quoted by Sir John Bar- 
row, xxvii 

Coronel recommended to the notice 
of the King and Queen, 95 

Correa ( Pedro), brother-in-law of 
Columbus, confirms his idea of 
land to the West, xliii 

Cortereals, the Portuguese ex- 
plorers, xxvii 

Cosa (Juan de la), his map, Ixi, Ixii, 

Cosmographise Introductio, of Wald- 
seemiiller, Ixxxiv 

Cotton worn by the Indian women, 
G; great quantities in the islands, 
15; fouud in Guadaloupe, both 
spun and prepared for spinning, 
25; spun and woven into sheets 

by the Caribbees, 29; worn in 
bands round the knee and ankle 
by the Caribbee women, 30; ham- 
mock of, 56 ; worn by the Indian 
women, 64; trees of in Española, 
66 ; woi-ked in colours and worn 
by Indians near Point Arenal, 
1 20; beautifully worked in Cariay, 

Crantor confirms the story told by 
Plato, V 

Cuba, see Juana 

Cubagua discovered, Ixx 

Dati (Giuliano), his poem, xc, Cvii 

Dauphin (Port) in Española, 60 

De Murr, his evidence on the sub- 
ject of Behaim, xxxi 

De Guignes, states that the Chinese 
reached America by the north, vii ; 
his ojjinion on the Ai-abian expe- 
dition, xix 

Deza (Diego de), the faithful friend 
of Columbus, Iv, Ixxx 

Documents — Columbus' letter on 
the first voyage, 1 ; Dr. Chanca's 
on the second voyage, 19; Memo- 
rial of Columbus on the second 
voyage, 72; letter of Columbus on 
the third voyage, 108 ; his letter 
to the nurse of Prince John, 152 ; 
his letter on the fourth voyage, 
175; narrative of Diego Méndez, 

Dogs in Española, 42 

Dominica, Island of, discovered, 22; 
described in second voyage, 31 ; 
report of gold there, 37 

Dragon's mouth, 139 

Ducks found in Ziu'uguia, 13 

Editio princeps of first letter of 
Columbus, the rival claims dis- 
cussed, cxxii, cxxxviii 

Edrisi on the Arabian expedition, xx 

Egyptians supposed to have colo- 
nised America, etc., vi 

El Eetrete, Ixxviii 

Engaño, Point, Española, 41 

Eric the Red colonises Greenland, x 

Eric, Greenland Bishop, visits Vine- 
land in 1121, xvii 

Escobar, companion of Diego Mén- 
dez, 217 

Escobedo, Rodrigo de, lieutenant to 
the governor of Española, 12 

Esjianola (St. Domingo) seen from 
Juana, 3; scenery, harbours, vege- 
tation, spices, gold and other 



metals, 4-5 ; inhabitants, 5-9 ; 
great size, 11 ; town uf Villa de 
Navidad, 1 1 ; manners and cvis- 
toms, 12-14; products, 15; arrival 
of Columbus on his second voyage, 
41 ; its division into pi'ovinces, 41 ; 
country described, birds and ani- 
mals, 42-43 ; harbour of Monte 
Cristi, 45 ; river Yaque, 45 ; Bay 
of Caracol, 47; Port Dauphin, 60; 
Port Isabella, 62 ; city of Mart;i, 
(!2 ; vegetation, 63 ; the people, 
61' ; gold mines, 64 ; products, 6')- 
GH ; abundance of gold, 69-70 ; 
Columbus finds the colony in a 
state of revolt when he arrives 
there in his third voyage, 155 ; 
Bobadilla's arrival, 160; reception 
of Columbus on his fourth voyage, 

Evangelista discovered, Ixviii 

Exuma discovered, Ixiii 

Feenandina (Great Exuma) dis- 
covered, 2 

Fonseca (Juan Rodriguez), Bishop 
of Badajos, his enmity to Colum- 
bvis, Ixviii and 156 

Fortress built at Villa de Navidad, 

Galea, Cape, now Cape Galeota, 

the south-east point of Trinidad, 

Gallardo (Don Bartolomé) ,t]ieImago 

Mundi not mentioned in his list 

of books in the Columbian library, 

Gallega Island, 177 
Garcia, land of, 121 ; violent currents 

between it and the I. of Trinidad, 

Garcia (Gil), recommended to the 

notice of the King and Queen, 96 
Gardar, a Dane, discovers Iceland 

in 863, X 
Gaspar recommended to the notice 

of the King and Queen, 92 
Genoa, birthplace of Columbus ac- 
cording to his own assertion, xxxv 
GhiUany's (Dr. F. W.) copy of 

Martin Behaim's globe, xxxi 
Gibbs (Mr.) confirms Navarrete on 

the landfall of Columbus, Iviii 
Giocondi (Fra Giovanni) translated 

Vespucci's letter into Latin, Ixxxiv 
Globus Mundi, Ixxxv 
Gold and other metals in Española, 

5, 15; report of large quantities 

at Cayre, 37; ear-rings and neck- 
laces worn by the Indians, 44; 
masks sent as j^resents by Guaca- 
mari, 48 ; beaten into thin plates 
by the Indians, 55 ; mines at 
Cibao and Niti, 69 ; great quan- 
tities found by Gorbalan and 
Hojeda, 74; ornaments of, worn 
by the Indians of Paria, 125 ; 
Indians direct Columbus where 
to find it, 128; seizure of, by 
Bobadilla, 167 ; gold mines of 
Ciamba, 180; mirrors of, worn by 
the Indians of Carambaru, 180 ; 
ornaments of worn by the In- 
dians of Ciguare, 181 ; mines of 
Veragua, 188; abundance of, in 
Veragua, 202; of Solomon, 204 
Gomara on the subject of the Polish 

pilot, xxix 
Gorbalan, his discovery of gold, 74 
Greenland discovered and colonised, 


Gi'otius (Hugo) describes America 
as peopled from Norway, ix 

Grüninger (Johann) of Strasburg, 
his edition of the Cosmographice 
Introductio, Ixxxv 

Guaeamari sends a deputation to 
Columbus, 44; sends his cousin 
with an account of the destruc- 
tion of the Spanish settlement, 
48 ; receives Melchior and his 
party, 54; his interview with 
Columbus, 56 ; his hammock of 
cotton network, 56; his pretended 
wound, 58 ; his disappearance, 60 

Guadaloupe, Island of, discovered, 
24 ; immense waterfall, 25 ; de- 
serted houses, 25 ; the inhabitants, 
27 ; their arts, 29 ; manners and 
customs, 3U-32 

Guanaga Island discovered, Ixxvii 

Guanahani (San Salvador, now Wat- 
ling's Island) discovered, 2, Isi 

Gunnbiorn discovers Greenland in 
877, X 

Gutierrez (Pedro), lieutenant to the 
governor of Española, 12 

Haie, various ways of wearing 

among the Indians, 37 
Hammocks used in Española, 56 
Hatchets and axes made of stone, 68 
etc., made of copper in 

Cariay, 201 
Hayti, a province of Española, 41 
Helgason (Adalbrand and Thor- 

wald), Icelandic clergymen and 

explorers in 1285, xviii 



Henry YII. willing to accept the 
services of Columbus, Ivi 

Herrera on the signs which led 
Columbus to the West, xliv ; his 
map, its evidence on the landfall 
of Columbus, Ix, Ixii 

Hispaniola, see Española 

Hojeda (Alonzo de) sent by Colum- 
bus to examine gold mines, 74 ; 
causes great trouble to Columbus 
in Española, 156 

Homo, province of Cuba, 222 

Honey found in Española, 5 

Hornius, his treatise "De originibus 
Americanis, vi 

Huarco, Cacique, 224 

Humboldt's answer to the theory 
of De Guignes, viii; his assertion 
respecting Ortelius, viii ; his opi- 
nion on the Arabian expedition, 
XX ; on the subject of the Polish 
pilot, xxix-xxx ; on the date of 
the Imago Mi'Mcli, xlvi ; on Roger 
Bacon, xlvii; on the landfall of 
Columbus, Iviii J his testimony to 
the glory of Columbus, Ixxxviii 

Hylacomylus, see WaldseemüUer 

Iceland discovered and colonised, x 

Idolatry not practised by the In- 
dians, 8 

Imago Mundi, studied by Columbus, 
xlv; dates assigned to the first 
edition, xlvi 

Indians, their weapons, 6; their 
want of courage, 7; simple, honest 
and liberal, 7; not idolaters, 8; 
very intelligent, 9 ; their canoes, 
10; manners and customs, 13-14; 
deserted houses in Guadeloupe 
found to contain cotton and human 
bones, 25 ; Caribbee, their charac- 
teristics, 29-30; their customs, 
31-32; dress, 37; miserable hovels 
in Española, 52 ; their manner of 
working gold, 55 ; join readily 
with the Christians in their acts 
of worship, 65; tools made of 
stone, 68; their food, 68; of 
Paria, description of, 119, 124; 
their houses, food, etc., 126 ; dress, 
128; teU Columbus where to find 
gold, 128 ; of Trinidad described, 
137; of Carambaru wear golden 
mirrors round their necks, 180; 
of Ciguare, dress and customs, 
J81 ; of Cariay, enchanters, 199, 
201; of Veragua, 215, 217; con- 
flict with, 219, 221; refuse to 

supply Columbus, but are fright- 
ened into obedience by the pre- 
diction of an eclipse, 234 

Ingolf, a Norwegian, colonises Ice- 
land, X 

Ires (William), native of Galway, 
one of the men left by Columbus 
in Española, 12 

Iron not known by the Indians, 6 

Isabella, her sympathy with Colum- 
bus, Ixxiii ; her death, Ixxx 

(Saometo or Crooked Island) 

discovered, 2 

city, river, aud port of Espa- 

ñola, 62 
Isle of Pines, see Evangelista 
Isla de las Bocas, 197 

Jamaica, letter on the fourth voy- 
age dated from, 211 ; Diego Mén- 
dez treats with the natives, 223 

John, King of Portugal, grants an 
audience to Columbus, li ; calls a 
council to consider his proposition, 
li ; yields to the unworthy advice 
of his enemies, lii 

Josef and Eoderigo, with the assist- 
ance of Behaim, render the astro- 
labe useful for seamen, li; con- 
demn the proposed enterprise of 
Columbus, lii 

Juana (Cuba) discovered, 2; its 
size, 10; contained two provinces, 

Karlsefne ( Thorfinn), distin- 
guished early discoverer, xiii 

King's Garden (The) discovered, 

Kircher (Athanasius), his conjec- 
tures concerning the colonisation 
of America, etc., vi 

Klaproth, his answer to the theory 
of De Guignes, vü 

Kohl, on the Venetian expedition. 

Lajes (Tallarte de), an English- 
man, one of the men left by Co- 
lumbus in Española. 1 2 

Lambinet on the date of the Imago 
iUundi, xlvi 

Landfall of Columbus discussed, 
Iviii, Ixiii 

Las Casas, his evidence respecting 
Columbus and Perestrello, xliii 

Lannoy (Jean de), on the date of 
the Imago Mundi, xlvi 

Leibnitz acknowledyes that he had 



erroneously inserted the name of 
" Christopliorus" into the letters 
supposed to refer to Columbus, 

Lescarbot (Marc) derives the Ame- 
ricans from the Canaanites, vi 

Lief, son of Eric the Red, discovers 
Newfoundland and Nova Scotia 
in the year 1000, xi; also New 
England, xii 

Li- Yen, Chinese historian quoted 
by De Guignes, vii 

Lizards, an Indian luxury, 43 

Lud (Walter), canon of St. Die, his 
college and printing press, Ixxxiv 

Macao (Point), Española, 41 

Mackenzie (Commander Alexander 
Slidell) on the route of Colum- 
bus, Ixii 

Malte Brun on the Arabian expe- 
dition, XX 

Manchineal, fruit of, 24 

MandevUle (Sir John), influence 
on Columbus, xlviii 

Mangi, name given to Southern 
China by Marco Polo, 194 

Maps : by Nicolo Zeno, xxv ; anony- 
mous, xxvij by Andrea Bianco, 
xxvi ; the earliest MS. bearing 
the name of Ameiica, Ixxxvii 

Mappa Mundi, by Pierre d'Ailly, 
treats of Alfragan, xlvii 

Maijpemonde, by Appianus, bearing 
the name of America, Ixxxvii 

Mai-chena (.Fray Juan Perez de), 
his interest in Columbus, liv 

Marco Polo, influence of his work 
on Columbus, xlviii 

Marcolini (Francesco), his account 
of the Venetian expedition, xxii 

Margarita, Island, discovered, 156 

Margarite, Messire Pedro, recom- 
mended to the notice of the King 
and Queen, 92 

Margry (M.), his pretension founded 
on the fondness of Columbus for 
the works of Pierre d'Ailly, xlv ; 
disproved, xlv 

Marigalante (Island of) discovered, 

Márquez (Diego) and his party lost 
for four days, 27, 28 

Marta (City of), Española, 62 

Martin (Andreas) his respectful 
treatment of Columbus in his 
trouble, Ixxii 

Martin (Fernam) his correspond- 
ence with Toscanelli, xlix 

Masks of gold made by the Indians, 


Mastic found, 15 

Matenino (Martinique), 14 

Mayaguana, supposed by Varnha- 
gen to be the landfall of Colum- 
bus, Ix 

Mayreni, a chief in Española, ac- 
cused of burning the Spanish set- 
tlement, 48 

Medici (Lorenzo di Pier Francesco 
de' ), letter to him from Vespucci, 

Melchior and his party received by 
Guacamari, 54 

Melilla, 224 

Memorial of Columbus on the se- 
cond voyage, 72 

Méndez (Diego), extract from his 
will, iii ; his devotion to Colum- 
bus, Ixxviii, Ixxix ; his narrative, 
212; renders assistance to Colum- 
bus at Veragua, 213 ; his recep- 
tion by the Indians, 216; conflict 
with, 219; made captain of the 
ship Capitana, 222 ; goes to treat 
with the natives of Jamaica for 
food, 223 ; goes to Española and 
purchases a ship for Columbus, 
233 ; his interview with Columbus 
and promised reward, 235, 236 ; 
his disappointment, 237 ; direc- 
tions respecting his grave, 239 

Mendoza, archbishop of Toledo, 
adopts the cause of Columbus, Iv 

Mogica (Adrian), one of the rebels 
in Española, 157 

Mona, 41 

Monte Cristi, harbour in Española, 

Blontserrat (Island of), discovered, 

Mundus Novus of Johann Ottmar, 

Muñoz, his opinion that Columbus 
went to Genoa from Lisbon, liii ; 
his opinion on the landfall of 
Columbus, Iviii 

Mylius (Abraham) supposes Ame- 
rica to have been peopled by the 
Celts, ix 

Narrative by Diego Méndez, 212 

Navarrete on the landfall of Co- 
lumbus, Iviii 

Navidad, vula de, town and for- 
tress in Española, 12 

New England discovered, xii 



Newfoundland discovered a.d. 1000, 

Nightingales and other birds sing- 
ing in November in Española, 4 

Niti, gold mines of, 69 

Norwegians supposed to have peo- 
pled America, ix 

Nova Scotia discovered in the year 
1000, xi 

Odjein or Ougein, 1 35 

Ojpus Majus of Roger Bacon sup- 
plied the portion of the Imago 
Mundi which is supposed to have 
given Columbus the idea of dis- 
covering America, xlvii 

Oronoco, confluence of the, with the 
sea, 123 

Ortelius, not the first to recognize 
the discovery of America by the 
Northmen, viii 

Ottmar (Johann), his Mundus No- 
vus, Ixxxii 

Otto (Mr.) of New York, his asser- 
tion respecting Martin Behaim 
and the Azores, xxx 

Ovando (Nicolas de), the governor 
of St. Domingo after Bobadilla, 

Palm-trees, very fine in Española, 
4, 5 

Paracelsus, his statement of the 
peopling of the New World, vi 

Paradise, supposed situation of, 141 

Paria, coast of 121 

Parrots found in deserted houses in 
Guadaloupe, 25 

Pearls, Gulf of, 139 

Pearls, bracelets of, worn by the In- 
dians of Paria, 125 ; Columbus 
leaves orders with the people in 
Española to fish for them, 155 

Pelicans show that land was near, 

Pelican (Point), 125 

Peña Blanca (Point), 123 

Pepper plant, known to the people 
of Ciguari, 181 

Perestrello (Felipe Moñiz de), wife 
of Columbus, and daughter of 
BartoUomeix Perestrello, xlii 

(BartoUomeu), received 

thecommandershipof Porto Santo 
from Prince Henry, his widow 
gives up his papers, etc., to Co- 
lumbus, xlii, xliii 

Perez ( Alonzo), the first to see land 
in the third voyage, 118 

Philesius, pseudonym of Eingmann, 

Pilot of the ship Capitana ñxst to see 
land on the second voyage, 21 

Pinzón, his jealousy of Columbus, 

Plato speaks of an island called At- 
lantis, v 

Polar star, observations of Colum- 
bus on, 133 

Pomponius Mela, edited by Vadia- 
nus, Ixxxvi, Ixxxvii 

Porto Eico, named by Columbus 
St. John the Baptist, discovered, 

Portuguese expedition to America, 

Prince Henry originates the re- 
searches into the Atlantic which 
led to the discoveries of Colum- 
bus, i 

Puerto Bello discovered, Ixxviii 

Puerto Gordo, 186 

Queen's Gardens discovered, Ixviii 
Quibian, the Cacique, attempts to 
deceive Columbus, 188 ; taken 
prisoner, 189 ; advice of Colum- 
bus respecting him, 205 

Eabida ( Convent of Santa Maria 
de), Columbus's visit there, liv 

Eafn (Professor), his work Antiqui- 
tates Americance, ix; his collection 
of MSS. on the discoveries of the 
Northmen, and his inferences, ix, 

Reeds used as Indian weapons, 6 

Rene II, Duke of Lorraine, patron 
of Walter Lud, Ixxxiv 

Reptiles eaten by the Indians, 68 

Rhubarb and other drugs in Espa- 
ñola, 15 

Ringmann (Mathias), his admira- 
tion of Vespucci, Ixxxiv; suggests 
the name of America, Ixxxv 

Roderigo and Josef, with the assist- 
ance of Behaim, render the astro- 
labe useful for seaman, li ; con- 
demn the proposed enterprise of 
Columbus, lii 

Roldan, the enemy of Columbus, 
perishes in a storm, Ixxvi 

Sais, priests of, their stoi'y of the 

Island of Atlantis, v 
Sandy Point (Punta del Arenal), 119 
S. Brandan, supposed island of, xxvi 
St. Catherine discovered, Ixiii 



St. Domingo, see Es]iañola 

St. Martin (Island of) discovered, 34 

St. Ursula and the eleven thousand 

virgins (Islands of) discovered, 38 
San Miguel (Cape), 232 
Salvador ( Watling's Island ), 

name given by Columbus to 

Guanahani, 2 
Santa Cruz (Island of) discovered, 

Maria la Antigua (Island of) 

discovered, 34 
Maria de Concepción (Long 

Island) discovered, 2 
Maria la Eedonda (Island of) 

discovered, 34 
Santander (Serna) on the earliest 

date of the first edition of the 

Imago Mundi, xlvi 
Scandinavians supposed to have 

peopled America, viii 
Sepulchi*e in Cariay, 199 
Serpent's mouth, 123, 139 
Snakes in Española, 42 
Soderini(Pietro), Vespucci's school- 
fellow, the letter intended for 

him, Ixxxiv 
Solon, remarkable story related to, v 
Soria (Juan de), the complaint of 

Columbus respecting his conduct, 

Sousa, Faria y,. silent respecting 

the Cortereals, xxviii ; supposed 

discovery of Newfoundland, 
Spice in Española, 5 ; trees, 67 
Spinning and weaving among the 

Caribbees, 29 
Sugar canes, 81 
Snmner (Mr. George), his search in 

the archives of Aragón and Bar- 
celona for records of Columbus, 

Szkolny ( John), Polish pilot said to 

have discovered America in 1476, 

Talayera, his opposition to the 

projects of Columbus, liv 
Tai-tars supposed to have peopled 

America, vi 
TeiTa firma, note on the supposed 

discovery in the second voyage, 

110 ; discovered in the third 

voyage, 121 
Theopompus, his story relating to 

the " New World", iv 
Thorwald, Lief's brother explores 

the coast of America, xii 

Toinard i Nicolas), his correction of 
Leibnitz, xxxviii 

Torfseus (Thormodus), Norwegian 
historian, relates the discovery of 
America by the Northmen, ix 

Ton-es (A ntonio de), Columbus begs 
the King and Queen to confirm 
his appointment as governor of 
the city of Isabella, 92 

( Doña Juana de la), letter 

of Columbus to, Ixxii, 152 

Toscanelli (Paolo), his correspon- 
dence with Martins and after- 
wards with Columbus, xlv, xlviii, 

Trinidad, Island of, 121 ; violent 
currents between it and Garcia, 
123; city of, 222 

Tristan (Diego) killed by Indians, 

Turk's Island, supposed landfall of 
Columbus, Iviii 

Turner's (Sharon) curious siu-mise 
respecting Columbus, liii 

Turuqueira and Ayay, probably the 
two islands which form Guada- 
loupe, 31 

Tychsen's opinion on the Arabian 
expeditioji, xx 

Vadianus (Joachim) uses the name 
of America in 1512, Ixxxvi 

Varnhagen (Señor de), his opinion 
on the landfall of Columbus, Ix ; 
proved to be mistaken, Ixii; re- 
ferred to on the subject of the 
earUest edition of the first letter, 
cxxv, cxxvii 

Venetian expedition to America, 

Veragua, Columbus arrives there in 
his fourth voyage, 187 ; gold 
mines, 188 ; custom with regard 
to burial of the chiefs, 203 

Vespucci (Amerigo), his letter ad- 
dressed to Lorenzo di Pier Fran- 
cesco de' Medici, Ixxxii ; the ques- 
tion of his voyage discussed, 
Ixxxiii ; the way in which his 
name was given to America, Ixxxv 

Vicente (Martin), Portuguese pilot, 
confirms Columbus in his idea of 
land to the West, xliii 

Villacorta recommended to the no- 
tice of the King and Queen, 105 

Vineland, New England, xii 

Vitalis (Ordericus) speaks of the 
country visited by the Scandina- 
vians, ix 



Waldseemüller (Martin), bis Cos- 
mographies Introthictio, Ixxxiv 
Wasliington Irving on the landfall 
of Columbus, Iviii ; dispi'oved, Ixii 
Watling's Island proved to be the 

landfall of Columbus, Ixi 
Watt (Joachim), see Vadianus 
Welsh expedition to America, xx 
Williams (Dr ) advocates the truth 
of the Welsh expedition, xxii 

Xamana, a province of Española, 41 

Xuragoa (Xaragua), 232 

Yams in Española, G3 

Tanez (Vincent) helps the 

affected in Española, 156 
Yaque (River) in Española, 45 


Zeno (Nicolo and Antonio), Vene- 
tian nobles, their expedition, xxii, 
xxiv ; map published by their 
descendant, xxv 

Zuruguia, ducks found there, 43